7 Days of Easy Trader Joe’s Dinner Ideas!
Growing up, I was always jealous of my friends whose parents shopped at Trader Joe’s. They always had the best lunches and snacks. My family never shopped there because it was “too far away,” so I didn’t start regularly shopping there until I moved to Nashville and started doing groceries on my own, and let’s be real, Trader Joe’s is just as magical of a place as I always envisioned it to be as a kid. Was I a super weird kid for being jealous of my friends because of the grocery store their parents shopped at? Maybe. But honestly, I truly don’t know how I would convincingly pretend to be an adult if it weren’t for Trader Joe’s making it so easy. So, for all you other pseudo adults, I thought I’d make your lives a little easier by sharing seven days of easy Trader Joe’s dinners!
Sunday is grocery day, so we always get first pick on Sundays. Actually, Saturday is usually grocery day because grocery stores in Nashville aren’t allowed to sell wine on Sundays and Trader Joes has the BEST affordable wine selection, but we dropped the ball this week so I went grocery shopping on Sunday. Anyways, this Sunday I made Salmon with their Haricots Vertis Saute Kit. This is the first time I’ve seen this saute kit in store, so it may just be a seasonal thing, but it was SO good! It tasted like the green bean casserole my mom always makes on Thanksgiving, minus the swiss cheese. I honestly think this Thanksgiving I’ll probably just buy this instead and add swiss cheese on top since I’ll most likely only be cooking for Jerry and I. I cooked the salmon on the stove and added a bit of salt, pepper and lemon juice and it was perfect!
I usually buy their pre-marinated steaks, but they were out of the one I wanted, so I got this kind instead and honestly liked it even better! I cooked it on the stove with olive oil, salt and pepper until it was medium/medium well and it was super juicy and flavorful! For the asparagus, I coat it in olive oil, and add Trader Joe’s garlic salt and some parmesan cheese and roast it in the oven at 400 degrees until it’s tender (usually about 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness). And then I just cook the risotto according to the instructions on the package. It tastes like a fancy expensive meal, but it takes less than 30 minutes to make from start to finish!
This is one of my go-to easy comfort meals! It’s so easy and so good! I just cook the ground chicken (with no additional seasoning), and then set it aside in a bowl and dump out the excess water, then I cook the gnocci according to the instructions on the package, but add in the ground chicken before it’s fully cooked and mix it around to coat the chicken in the butter and sage sauce!
No matter what, every time I go to Trader Joe’s I always pick up a package of Mandarin Orange Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice. It’s definitely not the healthiest meal by any means, but it’s always my favorite meal of the week and satisfies my comfort food/takeout cravings! I usually cook the chicken in the oven (following the instructions on the package) and then cook the fried rice on the stove. When I cook the fried rice, I usually add an egg or two and a little bit of soy sauce. I think it makes it taste even more like takeout! To add the egg, I wait until the rice is almost cooked and then just make a hole in the center and crack the egg into it, scramble it (while trying to keep it as separate from the rice as possible) and then mix it in once it’s completely cooked! While this is probably our least healthy meal of the week, I like to tell myself that it’s (probably) better than takeout…
This one was a first this week! We love their lemon pepper pasta, so I thought I’d give their other flavored pastas a try. I heated a pan with some olive oil and toasted the pancetta just a bit, and then added it to the cooked pasta. I tossed it with a little bit of olive oil and some parmesan cheese. So easy and super good! The pasta itself is flavored, so you don’t really need sauce, just some olive oil.
Another first! We decided to try the spaghetti squash because I love spaghetti squash but HATE making it because cutting it and taking out the seeds is always a pain in the a$$, so when I saw this I got so excited! You could pair it with pretty much any of their pasta sauces, I just chose this one because it’s fall and I’m basic lol. The Chicken Piccata is an easy protein to use because it’s already pretty much ready to go! I added a little parmesan cheese on top of the spaghetti squash (because parmesan makes literally everything better) and it was a super good, easy dinner!
This pesto chicken breast is one of my favorites! It’s so flavorful and has a really great pesto/lemon flavor, and is super thinly cut so it cooks pretty quickly! I love pairing it with their lemon pepper pasta tossed in melted butter with a cube or two of garlic and basil (I forgot to take a picture of it, but there are packages of cubed garlic and basil in their freezer section that will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. Even my mom who always refused to shop at Trader Joe’s when I was growing up swears by them!). I cook the asparagus the same way I mentioned above! Roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes with olive oil, garlic salt (or sometimes lemon pepper, for this dish!), and a little bit of parmesan!
I’m always switching up my shopping list (and I’m always trying to keep things as easy as possible) so if this is something you want to see me post regularly let me know and I totally will! What are your Trader Joe’s favorites? I feel like I discover something amazing that I’ve never noticed before every time I go, so I’d love to hear what you guys swear by!