Four Delicious Dinners You Can Make This Week

Four Delicious Dinners You Can Make This Week

Quite a few of  you have asked about our nightly dinners, one skillet meals, what the heck I buy at Trader Joe’s and how I manage get dinner on the table at least 4 nights a week, on most weeks. The truth is that I cheat. Especially over the last year, I started coming up with ways to make this gruesome task easier on myself, and others! And now it still feels gruesome, but also manageable. Read on for tricks, shortcuts and tips to serving up four delicious dinners you can make this week—from everyone’s favorite store, Trader Joe’s!

I didn’t get the appeal of Trader Joe’s at first. My California co-workers were all crazy for it, and we have one about 5 minutes away—so it slowly became my favorite. It’s still not my go-to market if I am cooking from scratch, as it definitely doesn’t have everything one needs for say, Thanksgiving. But, for easy, healthy and semi-homemade dinners Trader Joe’s is the best, if you know what to buy.

Below, I compiled a shopping list from my weekly haul, which will provide you with all four dinner ideas below, as well as lunch for a couple of days! ( I did a similar post with favorite Trader Joe’s items a few years back and a lot of you still refer back to it, so I hope this post will be a resource to you, as well !)

This week’s dinner menu:

Parmesan Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushroom in a Creamy Sauce over Jasmine Rice

Sweet Sausage with Onions and Peppers and Fingerling Potatoes topped with Arugula

Coriander Glazed Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Broccolini

Pesto Grilled Shrimp over  Spinach & Chive Linguine Pasta

Scroll down  for recipe and directions

The Shopping List

I tried to include everything you would need, so you likely already have lots of these items in your pantry or fridge. For a printout PDF of the shopping list, click here: Shopping List for Four Delicious Dinners

Protein
Organic & Kosher Chicken Breast
Frozen Raw Shrimp
Sweet Italian Pork Sausage
Salmon Filet
Cured meat platter

Veggies
1 Sweet Potato
2 Zucchini
1 Italian Eggplant
2/3 Tomatoes
1 Red Onion
3 Yellow Onions
2 Avocado
1 package of precut garlic or
1 garlic head
dill, thyme, and basil
1 pack of Broccolini
1 pack of Fingerling Potatoes
1 pack of white mushrooms
1 pack of baby carrots
1 package of mixed greens
1 package of baby arugula

Condiments
Pesto Sauce (not jar)
Tahini Sauce
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Olive Oil
Olives
Pickles
All Purpose Flour
Cornstarch

Dairy
Mozzarella Cheese
Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
Organic Brown Eggs
Organic Milk
Organic Yogurt

Fruit
Strawberries
Apples
Bananas

Pasta & Grains
Spinach & Chive Linquine Pasta
Jasmine White Rice
10 min cooked Barley

Tip 1—Buy the pre-cut, pre-chopped veggies. For example, properly cleaning mushrooms and then cutting them can take 20 minutes. When you’re trying to make an entire meal happen in 30, that’s a lot of precious time wasted. It costs a little more, but so does your time. Note that I only buy the pre-cut veggies if I am using them within 1-2 days of purchase. Same with their pre-washed greens for salad. They don’t last, but they sure make life easier!

Tip 2—Trader Joe’s has canned goods, which are great. But they also have ready to eat versions, like their delicious pesto. You can find that pesto with the hummus and tahini containers. It’s freshly packaged and made, and tastes like you made it and not like the jarred stuff. I buy that version of pesto almost weekly and add to various items because it’s delicious and also because it doesn’t keep as well.

roasted veggies

The Prep Work

One of the shortcuts that has worked for me is definitely prepping some of the items ahead of time. A lot of this also helps me have healthier lunches throughout the week, and keep baby FLO fed. After my shopping haul, I typically will roast all of the veggies, boil my potatoes and cook four cups of rice for the week ( or quinoa or barley). This way, I already have the bulk of my meals made.

Tip 1—I’m using rice for two of my dinners this week, so I make extra and then Baby FLO can have some for lunch, I can always make a roasted veggie and rice bowl and we are not waiting around for it to cook on a weeknight.  I also make the potatoes ahead of time, by just boiling them and then tossing in a little olive oil, salt & pepper, chopped garlic and dill. I’m using the potatoes for one of the dinners, and then also lunches for myself, so making them all at once is easier.

easy and healthy lunch ideas

This is what my typical lunch looks like, roasted veggies, mixed greens, some fresh veggies, a pickle or olives, a cheese and cured meat (as a treat) and some tahini on the side. During winter months I like to switch to a chilli or a soup.

Parmesan Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushroom in a Creamy Sauce over Jasmine Rice

Not to brag or anything, but Mauricio called this top favorite dinner, which over the years is a pretty big statement, he is my guinea pig after all. This  delicious dinner has all the makings of a perfect fall meal, creamy without using cream, earthy because of the mushrooms and nourishing.

Ingredients
  • 2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts , halved horizontally to make 4 fillets ( I buy the Organic and Kosher Chicken at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Salt &  pepper
For The Sauce:
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (reduced fat or full fat milk) 
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch  mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk
  •  cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (do not include for dairy free option)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shredded basil, to serve
Directions
  1. If you didn’t already make the rice while roasting the veggies as a prep, make the rice according to the package before starting dinner.
  2. Mix flour, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture; shake off excess and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the chicken until golden on each side, cooked through and no longer pink (about 5-6 minutes each side, depending on the thickness of your chicken). Transfer onto a warm plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and  sauté the garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms; fry until the mushrooms are just soft.
  5. Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the milk and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste and add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the centre of the pan. Continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.
  6. Add in the parmesan cheese; allow sauce to simmer for a few more minutes. Add the chicken back into the pan; sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve over the rice you already made.
Sweet Sausage with Onions and Peppers and Fingerling Potatoes topped with Arugula

A simple play on an Italian sausage and peppers, this spin gets pesto and arugula, which feels modern and a bit more sophisticated—meanwhile the entire thing just happens in one skillet.

healthy one skillet dinner

Ingredients
  • 4 sweet sausage links ( or tofu sausage or whatever you like!)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 yellow pepper sliced into stripped
  • 1 red pepper sliced stripped
  • 1 package of fingerling potatoes
  • 1/2 package of baby arugula
  • 1/2 container of pesto
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • handful of dill
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
Directions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, use a skillet that has a lid. Add sausage links, brown on all sides, 3-5 minutes and then remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water. Add potatoes and boil for 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes, add one tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic, dill and toss all together. ( I recommend  doing this step in the beginning of the week, and have the potatoes ready to add to this dinner and available for lunch)
  3.  Add another tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions and peppers until translucent.
  4. Slice the sausage and add to the onions and peppers. Slice the potatoes and add those to the skillet.
  5. Add one to two  tablespoons of pesto—optional, it tastes  just as delicious without it.
  6. Turn off the heat, add the arugula and toss everything, then serve.
Coriander Glazed Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Broccolini

When I said we have this salmon almost weekly I wasn’t kidding. I typically pick up the giant package of salmon from Costco, and then slice into individual servings. The salmon from Trader Joe’s is also really good, and one weeks that I am less prepared I pick it up. This week I served the salmon with jasmine rice and broccolini.

the best salmon recipe

To cook the broccolini I add a little bit of water to the skillet, and let the broccolini get super green and water evaporate. Then I add chopped garlic, salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

I cook the jasmine rice according to directions. I always make extra rice, so I have it for the baby and us to make a quick bowl if needed.

A good variation would be to drizzle the pesto over the salmon, if the coriander doesn’t sound good to you!

Pesto Grilled Shrimp over  Spinach & Chive Linguine Pasta

The frozen raw shrimp with tail are a staple in my freezer. They are such a great, quick and easy dinner because they defrost incredibly well and fast! Of course buying never frozen, fresh shrimp is ideal, but we are talking about quick, family dinners without stopping at 4 supermarkets on your way home. So here we are.

shrimp quick and easy pasta dinner

Ingredients
  • 1 frozen shrimp package
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of pesto
  • 1 package of linguine ( I used the spinach & chive linguine pasta, because FLO likes it and I pretend that’s a vegetable serving!)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
Directions
  1. Ideally, you would defrost the shrimp in the morning, by taking them out of the package and leaving them in cold water. Then patting them completely dry. Once dry, I like to take a tablespoon of pesto and chopped garlic and marinade them for as long as possible.  Sometimes that means while the pasta is cooking!
  2. Cook the pasta according to package.
  3. Drizzle olive oil on a skillet and wait for it to get super hot. Add shrimp, wait a minute for them to turn pink, then flip over. Lower heat and remove the shrimp from the skillet, and set aside. Note, shrimp cooks super fast, so remove it before you think it’s done!
  4. Drain the pasta and then add to the skillet, on low heat. Drizzle additional olive oil into the pan. Add the remaining pesto.
  5. Take tails off the cooked shrimp, and add them to the skillet. Toss everything once again and serve immediately.

That’s it! You made four dinners this week. This means it’s pizza or take out for the weekend! I really would love to know if you try all or any of these recipes, and if there is something I missed.

I am planning on doing a round up like this every few months, do you think that would be helpful?

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1 Comment

  • Reply SANDRA November 3, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Life saving quick dinners, thank you, I might not get to make all of them right away, but I’m looking forward to trying them all!

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