School is back in session and that can often mean busy weeknights. Rather than stress over preparing a meal from scratch, why not rely on some of our fave Trader Joe’s pre-prepared meals? They’re quick, simple and easy on the wallet. Scroll down to see our picks for the best kid-friendly meals that even picky eaters will love.

Mac and Cheese Bites

It's the best of both worlds with Trader Joe's Mac and Cheese bites: bite-size bites of cheesy goodness and a crispy crust. With seven types of cheese that include Cheddar, Havarti, Swiss, Gouda, Cream Cheese, Monterey Jack and Pecorino Romano for good measure, the whole family will meet their dairy quota for the day, all while enjoying the updated panko-style breading.

Cost: $3.99

Shiitake Mushroom Chicken

It's a one-stop-shop with the umami-inspired Shiitake Mushroom Chicken from TJ's.  Chunks of dark meat chicken, whole shiitake mushroom caps, green beans, and edamame soybeans are covered in a ginger-soy sauce that can be enjoyed on its own or with a side of rice. Dinner is served!

Cost: $4.99

Outside-In Stuffed Gnocchi

A twist on the classic, Outside-In Stuffed Gnocchi have sauce and cheese on the inside! The wheat, flour potato pillows contain tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and can be enjoyed with a simple salad. Kid and adult approved!

Cost: $2.99

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

We know quesadillas have long been the quick dinner solution for busy parents, but TJ's Southwest version kicks it up a notch. Made with Monterey Jack & Pepper Jack cheeses, white meat chicken, corn, bell peppers, spinach, black beans, mild bits of jalapeño peppers and Mexican-style spices, this flavorful meal only needs a quick trip in the microwave or on a skillet before its ready.

Cost: $3.99

Mixed Mushroom and Spinach Quiche

Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this new quiche—packed with Swiss cheese, spinach and two kinds of mushrooms—just hit freezer shelves straight from France. The sweet flower shape of its real butter and wheat floor crust is pretty darling, too. Your tot can don the corresponding aluminum pan as a hat for some entertainment while this dish cooks—it needs 30 minutes in the oven. You’ll find it right next to their Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese and Quiche Lorraine mainstays.

Cost: $2.49

Pepperoni Pizza Mac & Cheese Bowl

Turn up the protein because, yes, you can have your pepperoni pizza and mac and cheese, too! The kids will think this is the best culinary mashup of all time, and you’ll love that tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and uncured pepperoni are all part of the mix.

Cost: $2.99

Jerk Chicken Thigh Skewers with Mango Chutney

Got little dippers on your hands? Dipping is also a great way to try new foods or flavors. With six to a box, the whole family can take these chicken skewers for a spin with Trader Joe’s uber-yummy Mango Chutney (included!). It’s the perfect mix of savory and sweet—a winning combo for kids.

Cost: $5.49

photo: Jennifer Massoni Pardini

Mini Beef Tacos

If the Shopkins sensation is any indication, kids absolutely love tiny things—so give mini foods a try. These tacos come in beef or chicken varieties and are also easy to load up with nutritious goodness like fresh tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese or Trader Joe’s reduced guilt chunky guacamole!

Cost: $4.29

Puff Dogs

We all have those nights when dinner needs to be fast and fun. Thankfully, our cries have been heard with this new spin on the perennial kid favorite—the hot dog. The kids will love watching these dogs “puff” up in the oven. Then try widening culinary palates with a variety of dipping options, from ketchup to garlic aioli.

Cost: $6.49

Gluten-Free Cheese Pizza

Food allergies are more common than ever these days it seems, and thankfully so are food options that everyone can enjoy, like this classic cheese pizza with a nutritious cauliflower crust. But the kids don’t have to be gluten-free to absolutely love this version of pizza night. It even made the list of 50 of the best Trader Joe’s products in store history.

Cost $4.99

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Healthy and hearty come to mind with this version of popular food bowls. It makes an easy meal unto itself with tons of seasoned chicken, brown rice, red quinoa, black beans, bell peppers and cheddar cheese. You can also add it to tortillas for easy tacos or a real-deal burrito!

Cost: $3.49

Mini Vegetable Samosas

Trader Joe’s doesn’t rest on its food laurels. They’ve come out with new vegetable samosas in a continued effort to improve both taste and nutrition. And no little dab of filling here—this version is chock full of peas, carrots, potatoes, lentils, onions and Indian spices. So, yes, these do have a bit of a kick, perfect for kids who aren’t afraid to spice things up. These also pair deliciously with their Mango Ginger Chutney and other ready-to-heat side dishes.

Cost: $3.49

Chicken & Mushroom Pelmini

It’s a ravioli, it’s a dumpling … it’s an ear?! Well, not exactly. But in Russia, these "bread ear" dumplings describe the shape they take on when the dough is wrapped around delicious morsels. These can either be pan-fried or boiled like pasta for easy, protein-packed dinner options. So, if playing with food is an enticing way to get your kids to try something new, lend them these ears!

Cost: $3.99

photo: Jennifer Massoni Pardini

Roasted Vegetable Multi-Grain Lasagna

This all-in-one meal is a great way to work a little more fiber into kids’ diets—and they won’t be the wiser. Broccoli, cauliflower, roasted tomatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers, even carrots are all in on this lasagna action. Mangia!

Cost: $5.99

photo: Anna Doogan

Party-Size Mini Meatballs

Right when you think there isn’t anything to make for dinner, you'll remember there are meatballs in the freezer and a bag of pasta or a cup of rice ready to boil. With a stash of these minis on hand, it’s also easy to heat up a portion for a side of protein whenever a little diner needs it. Pair it with Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki for an easy dinner sensation. Toothpicks always make fun mealtime props for kids, too.

Cost: $4.99

photo: Jennifer Massoni Pardini

Black Bean & Cheese Taquitos

Vegetarian, but still rich in iron and protein, these taquitos make a well-rounded finger food for lunch, dinner or linner. They work great with sour cream, green onions and salsa, but also pack enough flavor all on their own if your kids usually take a hard pass on toppings (There’s a tasty chicken version as well.).

Cost: $3.69

Mandarin Orange Chicken

Considering this was THE most popular Trader Joe’s product of 2017 (though they’ve been serving it up since 2004), chances are you may already know and love this freezer favorite. To fortify it with broccoli, peas and green peppers, check out our super easy recipe. Vegetarians and vegans can also rejoice because Chicken-Less Mandarin Orange Morsels are back in the freezer aisle as well.

Cost: $4.99

Gone Berry Crazy!

Don’t forget about dessert! How do strawberry halves drenched in dark chocolate sound? These sweet treats are brand new and already a chilly craze for summer days. The best part may be that you can eat them straight from the freezer.

Cost: $2.29

— Jennifer Massoni Pardini & Karly Wood



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