4 easy trader joe’s meals

Last year, I shared a 5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less) and it’s been one of my most-popular posts ever since! It seems like we are all looking for quick meals that come together in minutes – I get it.

And I’m back with some more. I visit Trader Joe’s a LOT. It’s two blocks away and now that shopping involves schlepping a stroller + car seat up stairs…I’m there even more because I can only carry one bag (max) at a time. (Is it ridiculous that I still get a bit nervous to leave the house?!) Maybe you shouldn’t answer that…

Easy Trader Joe's Recipes - 5 ingredients or less! | anutritionisteats.com

Ideally, each of these meals would have a vegetable component, but some of these are lacking a bit. So to add a quick vegetable side, try salad greens with dressing (I love their refrigerated Cilantro Dressing), roasted broccoli, or sautéed green beans. If you are really desperate, carrot sticks always work in a pinch, too!

Country Potatoes with Eggs:

Easy Trader Joe's Recipes - 5 ingredients or less! | anutritionisteats.com

The Country Potatoes with Haricots Verts & Wild Mushrroms is one of my new favorite items from Trader Joe’s, it’s SO good! Simply prepare the potatoes as instructed and fry or scramble an egg to serve alongside. It is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Turkey Bolognese Pizza:

Easy Trader Joe's Recipes - 5 ingredients or less! | anutritionisteats.com

You know I love my tortilla pizzas! (Pesto Pizza / Healthy Taco Pizza) and I thought trying the bolognese sauce would be a great way to switch up flavors, and get an extra boost of protein. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp (at about 400 degrees), top with sauce (drained as much as possible!) and cheese and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

Falafel Sandwiches:

Easy Trader Joe's Recipes - 5 ingredients or less! | anutritionisteats.com

If you’re looking for a vegetarian lunch or dinner, this is about as easy as it gets! Whip up a quick cucumber sauce, heat up the falafel and pita and your meal is on the table. Combine one container of greek yogurt, a minced clove of garlic and 1/2 cup shredded cucumber with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried dill, salt & pepper in small bowl and set aside. Heat falafel (takes 2-3 minutes in the microwave) and pita (in oven or microwave) and serve with cucumber slices.

Penne Peperonata with Sausage and Spinach:

Easy Trader Joe's Recipes - 5 ingredients or less! | anutritionisteats.com

I branched out and tried some of the frozen pastas that Trader Joe’s stocks in it’s freezer cases. I didn’t have high hopes going into it and frozen pasta has always seemed a bit ridiculous – it’s so easy to make! Well, it’s delicious. And it’s easy. Remove casing from hot italian sausage (or use sliced chicken sausage) and heat over medium heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside. Prepare pasta as directed. Toss hot pasta over spinach (or try arugula!) and top with sausage.

PS. Looking for more? 5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less) 

quinoa stuffed peppers

Quinoa stuffed peppers are a vegetarian dinner packed with protein and fiber! 

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

You guys, I had the most amazing weekend. My cousins threw us a ridiculous baby shower, my Mom was here for a visit and some of our best friends were here for the weekend. There was no shortage of good food, cupcakes and conversation. (I am very disappointed in my lack of photos though, I didn’t get a one!)

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

And then the party was over and everyone left. I’m always a little sad after we have visitors who then have to go back home. Ok, sad might be an understatement. Depressed is a little more like it.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

But before I can even blink, it’s time to get back into the groove of work, cleaning the house and making dinner. (Which is probably a good thing, so I’m not home moping around…) And if dinners are delicious, it makes the transition a little easier to handle.

A while ago (like a year?!) I asked for the type of recipes that you guys would like to see and I’ve been working through that list for quite some time now! I received a few requests for quinoa recipes and specifically, quinoa recipes that your kids will eat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a quinoa casserole, only to be disappointed each time. So the quinoa casserole is not there yet. But today, I have a quinoa stuffed pepper, full of Mexican flavor (always a family favorite, right?) that’s not only healthy but really tasty.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

Quinoa is a super-nutritious grain (that’s actually a seed, but it’s typically categorized as a grain) – full of protein and fiber. Combined with some beans and cheese, each pepper contains 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, an excellent source of both. Here, I cooked the quinoa with a combination of broth and salsa (yes, salsa!) to make sure it’s really flavorful and then I added black beans, stuffed everything into the peppers and topped them with shredded cheese. It’s a delicious meal that’s vegetarian, gluten-free and definitely family-friendly!

And no surprise, this dinner is an easy one!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

One pepper isn’t really enough for a meal, so I’d recommend serving two of them per portion or adding something on the side like grilled chicken or if you want to keep things meatless, a big green salad with tomatoes, avocado and pepitas.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - a meatless meal that's high in protein and has tons of flavor! | anutritionisteats.com

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup salsa (use a watery salsa, like salsa verde)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir together quinoa, salsa, water and broth in a small pot.
  3. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until water has been absorbed.
  4. While quinoa cooks, cut peppers in half, lengthwise and remove seeds.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, until slightly charred.
  6. When quinoa is done cooking, stir in black beans and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Fill pepper halves with quinoa mixture (you’ll have some leftover) and top with shredded cheese.
  8. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
  9. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 pepper Calories: 262 Fat: 7 grams Carbohydrates: 38 grams Sugar: 4 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 14 grams

 

 

lemon & butter chicken with warm green bean salad

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad - Ready in 30 minutes and low carb! | anutritionisteats.com

We ate really well this past weekend.

It started with takeout lunch from Pizzeria Mozza with my cousins and an amazing dinner a few hours later at République with a friend who was visiting LA. She loves food as much as we do, so we always eat well when she’s here. :)  We shared a bunch of small plates, my favorites were the brandade (salted cod with potatoes, mashed together and spread on bread) and an insane pasta with mushrooms, foie gras and freshly shaved truffles. It was one of those dishes we just had to try. And then of course the steady stream of cheese and crackers – standard weekend fare at our house.

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad - Ready in 30 minutes and low carb! | anutritionisteats.com

And then the weekend is over and it’s time for some lighter meals. This one is a new favorite dinner!

It couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s SO delicious. Let me tell you about it: chicken breasts are cooked in a packet so that they essentially poach in a broth of lemon, butter, garlic and parsley. They end up perfectly cooked and really flavorful. It’s everything you want in a chicken breast. (Which normally, I don’t even love.)

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad - Ready in 30 minutes and low carb! | anutritionisteats.com

And then on the side, a lovely salad, featuring my favorite vegetable, green beans! The beans are lightly steamed and then sautéed together with green onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar and cherry tomatoes.

 

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad - Ready in 30 minutes and low carb! | anutritionisteats.com

As much as I wish I could, I can’t take the credit for this recipe. The New Low-Carb Diet Cookbook: Groundbreaking recipes for healthy, long-term weight loss (affiliate link) by Laura Lamont was sent to me to review and I loved paging through the book for some ‘lighter meal’ inspiration. I don’t follow a low-carb diet, but I’m not against cutting back on carbs to make up for rich weekends – or dessert.

It’s not your typical low-carb cookbook, where absolutely no carbs are allowed. At breakfast, carbs are allowed (and encouraged)! The rest of the meals are full of fresh vegetables, plenty of protein and bright flavors. It’s the kind of food I like to eat! And I definitely don’t consider it ‘diet’ food.

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad - Ready in 30 minutes and low carb! | anutritionisteats.com

Whether you’re looking for something a little lower in carbs or just looking for an easy weeknight dinner, I think you’ll love this version.

PS. More chicken recipes!

Lemon & Butter Chicken with Warm Green Bean Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Chicken
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • For the Green Bean Salad
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 handfuls green beans
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put two 12-inch square pieces of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and turn up the edges to make bowl shapes to contain the ingredients.
  2. Put a chicken breast half in the middle of each piece of foil and top them with the garlic, butter and parsley. Squeeze the lemon juice over and season with a twist of pepper.
  3. Fold the foil loosely over the chicken, then seal the tops to form airtight packages. Roast the chicken packages 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  4. Toward the end of the cooking time, put the beans in a steamer, cover with a lid and steam about 5 minutes until just tender. Immediately rinse them under cold running water to set the color.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the salad, put the scallions, garlic and balsamic vinegar in a nonstick saucepan over low heat, cover with a lid and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft. Add the green beans and halved tomatoes and cook 2 minutes longer to reheat the beans.
  6. Unwrap the chicken and put on top of the salad to serve, spooning over the buttery lemon juices.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 363 calories Fat: 14 grams Carbohydrates: 22 grams Sugar: 10 grams Fiber: 6 grams Protein: 41 grams

 

lasagna soup

Lasagna Soup - easy, comforting meal the whole family will love!| anutritionisteats.com

Thank you SO much for completing the survey, it was so helpful. If I could, I’d show my appreciation through an amazing cheese platter. :)

Lately I’ve been worried/frustrated that my blog hasn’t grown to where it “should” be by now and I started to wonder if I needed a more precise focus. I tossed around ideas, but ultimately, I don’t have a precise eating focus or style so why should my recipes? I’m not vegan, I’m not paleo, I don’t count calories……

I love food. I love real food, I love simple food. I love complex recipes and I love meals that require three-ingredients from the Trader Joe’s freezer section. I don’t eat perfect. And I don’t think anyone should.

Lasagna Soup - easy, comforting meal the whole family will love!| anutritionisteats.com

So now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s time to share this recipe I’ve been holding out on you a bit. It was one that I made (and we loved) but I wondered if it was good enough, or different enough to share.

If I learned one thing from the survey, it’s that you want more of those real life posts which makes me take a step back and realize that every post doesn’t need to be a perfectly-styled, super-creative recipe. It’s about the real food. The food that’s eaten after a long day at work and no desire to cook. Food that doesn’t fit a diet perfectly, because, your family probably isn’t on that diet. (I also learned that you really aren’t interested in product reviews and my favorite link posts – noted!)

Lasagna Soup - easy, comforting meal the whole family will love!| anutritionisteats.com

So 2015, it’s going to be a lot more real. And a lot more life. (And a baby!!!!!!) And the food that goes along with it.

Lasagna soup is one of those meals. It’s a big bowl of comfort food, and I think your whole family will love it. It’s got classic lasagna flavors – but in a slightly different form. We loved it because it was really filling and satisfying, but also not really heavy either.

Lasagna turned into soup – you’ll love it too!

Lasagna Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 32 oz beef, chicken or veggie broth
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz tomato sauce
  • salt, pepper
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp dry basil
  • 8 oz fusilli pasta
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup chopped parsley or basil
Instructions
  1. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  2. Add olive oil to large pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up chunks, for about 7-9 minutes, until cooked through. Drain if necessary.
  5. Add broth, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and seasonings to pot, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, while soup is simmering, cook pasta as directed, until al dente. (Be careful not to overcook!)
  7. Taste soup and add any additional seasonings if necessary.
  8. To serve, portion out pasta in bowl, top with soup mixture, cheese and fresh herbs.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 421 Fat: 15 grams Carbohydrates: 44 grams Sugar: 9 grams Fiber: 5 grams Protein: 29 grams