Recipes: 3 Dinner-Party Worthy Dishes (That Your Guests Won't Know Were Canned!)

Sometimes, a cabinet full of cans doesn’t have the same power to excite that a bowl of fresh veggies does. But using canned, dried, or frozen foods can eliminate the need to throw out aging produce, creating food waste. It also has a great bonus of convenience- fruits and veggies are always there when you want them, but not sitting around spoiling when you find yourself on a last minute trip or a spontaneous meal out. The good news is, you can stock up on frozen and canned produce and make some gorgeous, dinner party-worthy dishes with just a little addition of fresh produce and herbs/spices.

First Course



Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Salad with a Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

This salad is bursting with colors just waiting to be gobbled up!  It makes for a crisp and refreshing way to start this three-course meal.   

Ingredients: Canned low sodium black beans, canned no-sodium added corn, greens, cherry tomatoes, celery, cucumber and scallions.  The dressing includes frozen concentrate.

Putting it all together: Top a bed of greens with the canned low sodium black beans and canned no-sodium corn, celery, cucumber and scallions.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place on the side.  Dress the salad with the frozen concentrate dressing. 

Nutrition Bonus: The main featured item, the black beans, are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and provide 30% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.  Not to mention a great source of protein!




Chipotle Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry Peach Salsa

This entrée, Chipotle Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry Peach Salsa is served with Chile Sautéed Green Beans and Tomatoes and Cumin Roasted Potatoes and Poblano Peppers. The dish is not just great to look at; the taste is incredible, blending savory, sweet, and a touch of spice.

Ingredients: Skinless boneless chicken breasts, frozen blueberries and blueberry juice, canned peaches, shallots, Serrano peppers, frozen green beans, canned, diced, low sodium tomatoes, frozen potatoes, diced, fresh poblano peppers, cumin, red chili flakes for green beans and tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil

Putting it all together: Preheat the oven to 400°F and rub baking pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Bake skinless boneless chicken breast for 30 to 40 minutes.  Let the frozen blueberries thaw, combine with blue berry juice, canned peaches, shallots and Serrano peppers and add on top of chicken.  Warm up the frozen green beans and canned diced low sodium tomatoes and place on dish.  Bake the frozen potatoes on 400°F for 30 minutes on pan with extra virgin olive oil.  Toss potatoes with diced fresh poblano peppers, cumin and red chili flakes and add to dish.  

Nutrition Bonus: For only 180 calories, the chipotle grilled chicken was a great source of protein. The sautéed green beans and tomatoes provided 2.5 grams of fiber; not too shabby for these long-lasting canned and frozen varieties.




Pumpkin Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Southwestern Spiced Pears and Pineapple

A martini glass gives this pumpkin buttermilk panna cotta a chic look, and pear and pineapple toppings make the dessert look like a fun summer drink. We particularly like the creamy, fluffy texture and delicious pumpkin after taste.

Ingredients: Canned pumpkin, canned pears, canned pineapple, reduced pear and pineapple juice, cinnamon and chipotle pepper.

Putting it all together: Combine ½ cup milk in saucepan and sprinkle 1 envelop of unflavored gelatin over it.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, blend together 1 cup milk, 1 cup canned pumpkin and cinnamon.  Turn heat to low, and cook the milk, stirring occasionally, until the gelatin dissolves.  Pour in the pumpkin mixture, and turn the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until steam rises.  Turn off the heat, and place in glass.  Chill the panna cotta until firm and serve with canned pears, canned pineapple, reduced pear and pineapple juice and a sprinkle of chipotle pepper.

Nutrition Bonus: Canned pumpkin is a rich source of vitamin A, which is beneficial to your vision! 


Recipes were written by the Canned Food Alliance, Canned Manufacturers Institute, and Frozen Food Foundation and this blog was written by Emily Kaley ,Morrison Chartwells Dietetic Intern; Rory Costigan, University of Maryland Dietetic Intern; and Ashley Spence, University of Maryland Dietetic Intern for the Alliance to Feed the Future.