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.
Japanese Style Fried Rice
Whether you make this rice your main meal or a delicious side, you can't go wrong. Packed with edamame, tofu bits and carrots, the flavorful entree is made even better with two tablespoons of TJ's toasted sesame seed oil.
Pork Gyoza Pot Stickers
This bag of potstickers is your future dinner in a flash. We prefer tossing them in with a bag of frozen vegetables and some of Trader Joe's Gyoza sauce for the perfect one-pot dinner.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.).
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Considering this is THE most popular Trader Joe’s item for the last several years, 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.
Breakfast anyone? These flaky croissants will have you feeling major French vibes, with just the perfect amount of chocolate. Put out the night before to rise overnight, then toss in the oven before enjoying on the go.
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.
— Jennifer Massoni Pardini & Karly Wood
All photos: Courtesy of Trader Joe’s