I love Trader Joe’s. I love the unique food items and I get super jazzed for all my favorite seasonal treats. I always find cute gifts to give a hostess or to surprise and delight a friend. The wine selection is like a choir singling the Hallelujah Chorus. Mostly, though, I adore the crew members who work there. Shout out to Adam at the North Scottsdale TJ’s. He brings all the smiles to my family’s faces and hearts.
Moms are always looking for dinner inspiration and so I bring to you five dinners that I buy at Trader Joe’s that are easily made in around 30 minutes or less.
Fried Rice with Tofu (or whatever protein you prefer) – You need one bag of Vegetable Fried Rice (frozen section), one bag of Riced Cauliflower Stir-fry, a package of either the Baked Teriyaki or Siracha Tofu (alternatives to tofu listed below), a couple of eggs, and soy sauce. Prepare the rice & cauliflower together in large pot or pan. While that cooks, dice up the tofu into small cubes. Toss them in as the rice mix finishes cooking. Scramble up a couple of eggs, either by digging out a little hole in the pan or in a separate pan. Add a few dashes of soy sauce to taste. Sometimes I add in extra veggies, such as the frozen vegetable medley, roasted broccoli, or any vegetable that I might need to use up from my fridge. If tofu is not your jam, you can definitely use any protein you want. I’ve used the Chicken Apple Sausage or the packaged grilled chicken strips. Precooked shrimp would be delicious! I’m suggesting precooked proteins to keep in the spirit of under 30 minutes.
Panko Crusted Tilapia with Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli – You need 1-2 boxes of Panko Crusted Tilapia (found frozen), a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, a bag of broccoli florets. Preheat the oven to 425. Quarter the potatoes, rinse in cold water, and add them to your Instant Pot, along with a generous sprinkle of salt and about a ½ cup of water. Set it to high pressure manual for 5 minutes and do a quick pressure release at the end. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The fish goes in one pan and the broccoli goes in another. The fish bakes for 20-25 minutes and the broccoli roasts for 17. When the potatoes are done and the pressure has been released, mash them up with milk and butter. May I suggest a couple spoonfuls of TJ’s Garlic Dip? I promise you will not be sorry. My family likes having tarter sauce with the fish and Trader Joe’s tarter sauce is quite yummy.
Bruschetta Bar – This is a fun dinner that is super simple. Although the ingredient list can add up to be a little more than I like to spend for one meal, I usually plan to have Bruschetta Bar dinner once a week until I’ve used everything up. You need 1-2 loaves of French baguette (my boys call it “long bread”), a tub of the fresh Bruschetta Sauce (make sure you get the tub in the refrigerated section and don’t confuse it with the jarred bruschetta sauce), and a wide assortment of other toppings. Ask Adam or one of the other employees for bruschetta toppings recommendations if you haven’t memorized the entire inventory of the store like me. My personal favorites include the Artichoke Antipasto, Grecian Style Eggplant and/or the giant baked beans in a can, tapenade, hummus, prosciutto, cheeses, fruit, etc. Just think of all your favorite bruschetta board options from Postino’s and recreate that. Bruschetta Bar dinner leans a little bit on the side of Charcuterie Board dinner.
Chicken Apple Sausage with Sweet Potatoes & Haricot Verts – Haricot Verts is the fancy French word for green beans. You need a package of Chicken Apple Sausage, a bag of sweet potatoes, and a bag of frozen fancy green beans. Preheat the oven to 425, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them up into bite size chunks. Toss them with EVOO and a sprinkle of sea salt. If it’s Fall time, I like to sprinkle Pumpkin Pie Spice on the potatoes. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the sausages into circles and put the haricot verts into a sauce pan. Add a splash of water in with the beans, cover with a lid and bring to a light simmer until they are heated through. When they’re done, I take the lid off and let the water evaporate. Then toss with butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. When there are about 10 minutes on the timer for the potatoes, pull them out and add the sausage in. Give it a good little stir to incorporate everything and finish them off in the oven.
Butternut Squash Soup with Tortellini & Sage – Shout out to my friend Cara over at North Phoenix Moms Collective for this idea. You need 1 or 2 cartons of Butternut Squash soup, a package or two of fresh tortellini, and some fresh (or dried) sage. Heat up the soup along with the tortellini. While that’s heating up, in a small pan, melt a little bit of butter and add the fresh sage. Let it come to a sizzle so the butter browns and the sage gets a little crispy. That’s your garnish on the soup. This soup is a seasonal item, so as a substitute, you could do their Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup, which is actually the world’s most delicious soup of all time. Disclosure – due to food allergies in my house, we do not do the tortellini mix in for the butternut squash soup. Instead, I add in (you guessed it) chicken apple sausage and serve it with baguette to dip. So, you do you and modify as needed.
There you have it. Five super easy meals from Trader Joe’s that are ready in no time flat. These dinners are all tried and true in my house by my children and hubby. Whether you need a fast and simple dinner to come together, or you just need some dinner inspiration, I hope these are helpful ideas from my kitchen to yours.