It’s hard to pick what we love most about Trader Joe’s. Maybe it’s the unrivaled snack factor, or the try before you buy policy. It could be the instant gratification of all those lazy-girl prepared foods, or perhaps the affordable party and booze options. As if those aren’t enough reasons, TJ’s is also ripe with meal hacks. We’ve put together 10 fresh meal ideas for fall with four ingredients or less. Your midweek dinner game has never looked better.
1. Caribbean Fish Bowl: Make your midweek meal a tropical hiatus. Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy Island Salsa is made with pineapples and mangos and is perfect on their Panko Breaded Tilapia Fillets and Cuban Style Black Beans.
2. Loaded Butternut Squash Soup: There’s nothing better on a chilly autumn night than a hot bowl of soup… well, except a loaded version. Thankfully, TJ’s has done most of the prep already. Simply chop up some of their Fully Cooked Uncured Bacon and fresh chives, and toss on top of Organic Butternut Squash Soup. Bonus points if you use a Soft Pretzel Stick for dipping.
3. Mediterranean Lentil Salad: This one’s as easy as getting out your salad bowl. Pick up a bag of pre-washed spinach and top with TJ’s Fully Cooked Lentils, Pitted Kalamata Olives, and Crumbled Feta Cheese. If you want a little extra protein, we recommend adding a can of Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil.
4. Pulled Pork Tacos: Your Taco Tuesday is looking pretty tasty with this dish on deck. Trader Joe’s Pulled Pork in Smoky BBQ Sauce is fully cooked and all ready to be rolled into Corn and Wheat Tortillas. We love it topped with Mango Jicama Slaw for a fresh complement to that BBQ sauce.
5. Pesto Baguette Sandwich: This is the winner for easy nights on the sofa while catching up on your favorite reality shows. Slice an Organic French Baguette lengthwise and smother it in some of TJ’s classic Genova Pesto. Add a few slices of the Mozzarella Cheese Log and some Prosciutto, and the only thing you’re missing is a glass of wine.
6. Chicken With Fig Sauce and Potatoes: The iconic Fig Butter has graced many a cheese platter and holiday buffet, but those aren’t its only purposes. Mix it with a little Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself a very autumnal marinade for Organic Free Range Chicken Breasts. While the chicken is cooking, boil any leftover marinade for a few minutes and you can serve it on the side. Look in the freezer section for the precooked Mashed Potatoes — they’re just what you need to soak up that delicious fig sauce.
7. Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers: Usually, stuffed bell peppers require a long list of ingredients and spices. A jar of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar cuts that list waaaaay back. It’s made with black beans, corn, and peppers, so all you need to mix it with is a little precooked Organic Brown Rice (look for it in the freezer section). Stuff the mixture into some red bell peppers and bake. That’s it!
8. Tofu and Veggie Bowl: Fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame seeds make Soyaki Sauce a flavor-packed condiment for dipping, saucing, grilling, and anything else you can think of. Here, we’re using it to marinate Extra Firm Organic Sprouted Tofu and stir frying with TJ’s aptly named frozen Stir Fry Vegetable mix. If you’re ravenous, you can always add some of that Organic Brown Rice you picked up for your bell peppers.
9. Pasta and Meatballs: This one doesn’t need much explanation. All you need to know is that you can find Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs in the freezer aisle, and they’re even better when topped with Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce. Serve with your pasta of choice, but we vote for the Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.
10. Mac and Greens: When the carb cravings strike and you find yourself alone, Trader Joe’s single portion frozen Mac ‘n Cheese is here to save the day. Fancy it up a little by topping with some Panko Style Japanese Breadcrumbs before heating. Finally, while hot, mix in a handful of pre-washed organic baby spinach. The heat of the pasta is all you need to wilt the spinach.
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