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.
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.
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.
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.
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.