You’re always looking for meals that are kid-friendly, healthy, easy-to-put-together and budget-friendly. We found 15 easy Trader Joe’s recipe ideas to add to your arsenal, which we hacked together using ingredients you can find at Trader Joe’s (aka every parent’s dream come true!). All these healthy dinners have been tested (and approved) by both grown-ups and kids. Read on for the scoop!
Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
Pesto is the star of this easy pasta recipe that will definitely earn a spot in the summer dinner rotation. Mix your favorite cooked pasta with shrimp and garlicky pesto. Add chopped fresh basil and tomato with a sprinkling of grated parmesan for an extra blast of favorite summery flavors.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Perfect for both hot summer days or crisp nights, this simple and delicious Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup comes together in just ten minutes. Shred Trader Joe's pre-cooked Lemon Chicken and add to a large stockpot. Toss in two tubs of Mediterranean Orzo Salad and two cartons of chicken broth, bring to a boil and then enjoy with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Penne Arrabiata with Sausage & Spinach
Add some extra protein and greens do you pasta routine with this simple recipe that incorporates tasty spices. Remove the casing from your fave Trader Joe's Sausage and cook through before adding to a prepared skillet of Penne Arrabiata (or any other frozen pasta if this is too spicy for your fam). Serve on a bed of spinach, or toss in right before serving to wilt (and camouflage).
Pot Sticker Stir Fry
Forgot to take out your dinner ingredients from the freezer (again)? When it comes to enjoying this pot sticker stir fry it's a non-issue! Simply pour a bag of Trader Joe's Chicken Gyoza Potstickers and Stir-Fry Frozen Vegetables into a large skillet (add salt and pepper, if desired) and cook until warmed through. Pour in one up of Trader Joe's Gyoza Dipping Sauce and then enjoy a veggie-packed dinner in ten minutes flat.
Easy Gyros & Mediterranean Salad
Keep it cool and refreshing during the warmer months by whipping up easy gyros. Grab a box of fully cooked Trader Joe's Gyro Slices, naan bread, tomatoes and creamy prepared Tzatziki sauce and pair with a simple Greek salad made with greens, cucumber and balsamic vinegar.
Green Curry Chicken & Fried Rice
Add a little spice to your dinner routine, and in less than 15 minutes! All it takes is two jars of Trader Joe's Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce. Prepare a package of Just Grilled Chicken Strips and frozen Vegetable Fried Rice separately. Once the rice is cooked, add both jars of the simmer sauce and chicken to the same skillet and heat until warmed.
For a delicious veggie-centric dinner, stuffed peppers with quinoa and feta are hard to beat. Stuff a variety of peppers with a pre-made quinoa salad, sprinkle with feta and bake until warmed through. You’ll get a bright pop of color, a big boost of vitamins and a whole lot of yumminess.
Expose your kids to a taste of Thai with this easy recipe. Mix a can of coconut cream (also available in a low-fat version) with a bottle of Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce and simmer. Cube some of Trader Joe's pre-cooked all natural chicken breast to throw in the pot, and serve over their three-minute rice. You can also add steamed spinach!
Trader Joe's has a great selection of ravioli, but topping it with marinara can get old. By adding steamed spinach, peas and melted Boursin cheese, this pumpkin ravioli now has three veggies (and they all taste like cheese!).
The cilantro salad dressing at Trader Joe's is no joke, and it's delicious on more than just salads. Create a filling dinner salad or a tasty lunch by adding their pre-cooked carnitas, Mexican cheese, avocado, salsa, cilantro salad dressing and a small amount of sour cream to a bag of romaine lettuce.
Can’t decide what to have for dinner? A DIY taco bar is a fun and simple crowd-pleaser. While the meat’s cooking, set out tortillas, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, olives and any other toppings you can think of. Then let everyone go to town making their own creation!
Island Soyaki Rice Bowl with Meatballs
Get all the beachy feels no matter the time of year with a tropical-inspired rice bowl. Cook party-size frozen mini meatballs in Island Soyaki marinade, flavored with pineapple juice, garlic and ginger. Serve over cooked rice. Add sautéed red peppers and grilled pineapple chunks, and don’t forget to save a little sauce for drizzling on top.
Easy Vegetarian Soft Tacos
These tacos can be thrown together in less than five minutes. Pictured below are Guerrero tortillas and Amy's organic refried beans, but Trader Joe's has their own version of both items. Heat the refried beans, then add Trader Joe's Double Roasted Salsa, Mexican cheese, guacamole and chopped spinach.
Try a twist on the classic lobster roll! Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper, and saute in butter. Then tuck them into a squishy hot dog bun with some greens and a dollop of mayo or a tangy tartar sauce. You may not actually be lounging at the seashore, but with this recipe, at least you can pretend you are. Perfection.
Chicken Pasta Salad
This salad is perfect for an easy weeknight meal or a portable option for a picnic or potluck. Plus, it’s equally fantastic served warm or cold! Toss cooked pasta with a jar of Corn and Chile Tomato-Less Salsa, black beans, chopped chicken and a bit of creamy dressing, like the tasty Cilantro. Add a handful of your favorite veggies and shredded or cubed cheese to top it off.
Delicious Pulled Pork Tacos
Trader Joe's Pulled Pork can be made in the microwave in three minutes, and makes a super-tasty base for these tacos. Add your favorite toppings, but don't skip the Roasted Tomatillo and Mango Salsa, which adds some tang and spice.
—Sara Olsher, Anna Doogan & Karly Wood
Feature photo: Divani via Unsplash