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:
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?