People LOVEEEEEE Trader Joe’s. And sometimes their OBSESSION can be a little much, but whenever I go to one (which isn’t too often since I don’t have one in my neighborhood and am not about lugging grocery bags on the subway), I can totally understand it. It has a lot of healthier snack options, is affordable, and one thing that’s perhaps most people’s favorite part: the prepared food/meal section is truly unrivaled. From precooked chicken to soups to freezer meals to salad kits, it makes it easier and yummier for busy people to eat well (in both flavor and health, mostly).
I helped make a meal plan this week for someone who’s still learning to cook, and I feel like TJ’s is perfect for that. But I didn’t just give them a list of the best premade meals. Instead, I like doing “half-homemade,” utilizing some premade ingredients, but also putting my own spin on it with fresh items and just a bit of hands-on cooking.
And I did it for myself too this week! Here’s what I made:
This pasta dish (except I used bow-tie pasta instead of ravioli): https://cupofjo.com/2016/09/trader-joes-meal-hacks/. Never had this Boursin cheese before but it is DELICIOUS.
This soup (#8): https://www.moneytalksnews.com/11-simple-ways-to-turn-trader-joes-staples-into-scrumptious-dishes/. SO good and came together so fast! Love the idea of doctoring up normal broth with the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame, oil etc.
A “hack” I made myself: a burrito bowl with quinoa, food-processor-chopped carrots and pinto beans heated in a saute pan and seasoned with the taco seasoning (it is SO spicy so be careful how much you put in). Also, I know carrots are a weird choice but I had a bunch that were going bad so I decided to use them as a meat substitute – but you can also use ground turkey, chicken, beef, whatever. I topped it with reduced-guilt guac, pico de gallo, and some sweet potato tortilla chips for dipping.
Another I created myself based on leftovers: a cold pasta salad using the bow tie pasta, some diced grape tomatoes, a few scoops of the pico de gallo, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
Here are some others I stumbled across but haven’t made yet:
- Sausage and Spinach Mac n’ Cheese
- Party Appetizers (#1, 2, 9, & 11)
- Warm Lentil Salad
- Love All These Budget-Friendly Vegan Ideas
Do you have any go-to “half homemade” meals? Let me know! Love this method of cooking 🙂
See you next week! To see what I’m eating in the meantime, follow me on Instagram or Twitter @ClaireLeaden