Recipes

The 9 Products You Need From Trader Joe’s For Easy Weeknight Dinners

TJs weeknight dinners.jpg

Oh man, weeknight dinners are the worst sometimes! Sure, I would eat noodles with butter and Parmesan every night if I could (and so would my kids), but I’m probably not going to win any parenting (or health) awards for that.

But I do love Trader Joe’s. When I say love, I mean they know me by name. Ok, fine, they know my baby by name, and refer to me as “Billie’s mom.”

We are frequent shoppers and I like to keep a bunch of staples in my pantry and freezer for those times when I can’t cook something from scratch. Or I don’t want to cook at all.

Here are my favorites:

Frozen cheese and bean enchiladas

Pop them in the oven, and then I like to add some shredded lettuce, slices of avocado and Greek yogurt as a healthy alternative to sour cream for a full meal. If you make 3-4 packages at once, you can feed an army of hungry kids and parents.

Frozen Japanese fried rice

The directions say just to saute in a little bit of oil in a pan, to which I like to add half a bag of fresh spinach. I top it with fried eggs, and voila – your own gourmet rice bowl made in under 5 minutes.

Spinach tortellini + red pepper tomato soup

Cook tortellini in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Warm soup and add tortellini. If you want to get fancy, add some grated Parmesan. DINNER. BOOM.

Frozen falafel

Serve up these frozen falafel balls over rice with some chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and a drizzle of tahini. Or if rice bowls aren’t your thing, buy some pita and stuff with all your favorites veggies or salads.

Cauliflower “rice”

The riced cauliflower is so popular at our location that people post on Facebook when more packages emerge. Turn it into fried veggie rice. Or cauliflower pizza. The possibilities are endless.

Par baked baguettes

My 4 year old is obsessed with having “fresh bread” which to her means exclusively baguettes. But it is nice to have freshly baked bread in the house, especially when it only take 10-12 minutes. Serve up some sandwiches, or make a quick french bread pizza. Total crowd pleaser.

Frozen succotash

My uncle turned me onto TJs frozen succotash with edamame, corn and red pepper years ago and I always keep a bag handy. Pop it in a pot (or the microwave) and serve with some rice or orzo and a piece of fish or chicken. Easy, vaguely healthy and delish.

Tater tots

When all else fails, make some scrambled eggs and serve the kids (and you) some tater tots. They really are a food of the gods.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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