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Meal-Plan Your Week With These Trader Joe’s Recipes

Published:
March 27, 2024
March 25, 2024
Read this article full of recipes for Trader Joe's meals with a theme for every day of the week.

Who among us has ever intended to spend their Sunday meal-planning for the week, only to find themselves sitting in front of a screen, frozen with debilitating anxiety instead? Cooking seven dinners every week for the rest of our lives can be a daunting task. Not to mention, trying to stay within our budget and eat quasi-healthy can make us revert to slurping packaged ramen and calling it a night. While that sodium-packed styrofoam cup of deliciousness might be good for the soul, coming up with a weekly menu of high-quality, wallet-friendly meals is possible with a run to everyone’s favorite quirky grocery store with the most epic snacks: Trader Joe’s.

Between the Unexpected Cheddar and the Two-Buck Chuck, filling your cart up with random and less-than-practical items is an easy thing to do. However, when you’re looking for full meals, a meal-planning strategy can help. The Trader Joe’s website offers recipes using only products found in-house, but the volume of choices can be overwhelming. One solution is to consider adopting the concept of a theme night and applying it to all seven nights of the week. For example — Meatless Monday; Taco Tuesday; Well-Done Wednesday (Beef dish); Thankful Thursday (a play on Thanksgiving, but basically some sort of white meat); Fast Food Friday (a riff on takeout); Sizzling Saturday (grill night), and Soup Pot/Slow Cooker Sunday. This simple formula can help immensely when faced with filling that weekly menu.

To reduce decision fatigue, here are seven recipes from the Trader Joe’s website that fit the above criteria and can eliminate a little planning stress.

Meatless Monday – Fancy Lemon Farfalle

If you’ve ever tried vegetarianism or gone through the season of Lent, you know finding meatless meals that aren’t glorified side dishes can be a challenge. This decadent pasta dish is hearty and delicious, and can satisfy even the pickiest eaters. The crème fraîche and parmesan cheese along with a colorful pop of green peas make this an elegant yet easy start to a hectic work week. Plus, the crunch of homemade toasted breadcrumbs make it chef’s kiss.

Taco Tuesday - Quesabirria Tacos

Making homemade quesabirria is no simple task. It requires many unique ingredients and a low-and-slow cooking process. Enter Trader Joe’s premade quesabirria found in the frozen food aisle. A simple defrosting on the stove produces a flavorful meat, perfect for filling tortillas and frying up in a spicy, savory sauce. It tastes just like you spent all day tending a roast. Give the raw onions in this recipe a chance — the crunch adds to the experience.

Well-Done Wednesday - Beef Shawarma Bowl

A time-saving hack found in the meat section of Trader Joe’s is their marinated, pre-sliced beef and chicken. The Shawarma Beef Sirloin saves a lot of time and energy while bringing both flavor and finesse to dinnertime. The vegetables and whole wheat couscous provide a certain freshness that’s enhanced by the creamy garlic cucumber dip. 

If available, you can substitute the Trader Joe’s tzatziki dip with plain Greek yogurt or a sprinkle of feta cheese in a pinch.

Thankful Thursday - Potsticker Soup's On!

Another find in the frozen food section of Trader Joe’s is the variety of gyoza potstickers. These delicious dumplings are available with shrimp, chicken, pork, or vegetables, and they’re a staple for the freezer. If you’ve ever tried to make homemade potstickers, you’ll soon appreciate how simple it is to add these premade pockets of goodness to a delicious soup.  

If you want to save money but have a little extra time, make your own mirepoix by chopping onions, carrots, and celery. Prepackaged is great if you’re short on time, but may not be the best choice if you’re short on funds for the month.

Fast Food Friday - Toscano Pizza

At the end of a busy week, sometimes we just want a hot pizza delivered to our doors rather than having to cook. But, by the time you select your pizza, pay the delivery fee, and tip the driver, you may end up spending more than you wanted to — on something that could have been whipped together in the time it took the pizza place to fire up the oven.

The three simple ingredients of a baguette, pizza sauce, and cheese makes this something you can easily put together while catching up on Netflix. Add a little pepperoni — or to make it extra classy, some prosciutto and arugula — and you have an easy Friday night dinner that won’t break the bank.

Sizzling Saturday - Tenderloin Steak with Air-Fried Brussels Sprouts 

This meal isn’t officially listed on the Trader Joe’s website, but it’s still sure to please on a Saturday night at home. Although it’s a bit of a splurge, it may be justified after a week of hard work. The filet steaks at Trader Joe’s are very high quality, and with a little salt, pepper, and time on the grill, you can treat yourself to a steakhouse-worthy Saturday night for a fraction of the cost. Toss some halved brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper and air fry at 400 degrees until charred, and you’ll be living the good life.

Soup Pot/Slow Cooker Sunday - Chicken Sausage and Lentil Soup

Everyone loves a slow Sunday, and it’s the perfect day to put something on the stove and forget about it for a bit. For a hearty, warm option, this soup is a winner. The Trader Joe’s chicken sausages are some of the best I’ve had, and depending on your mood, you could switch out the garlic herb for something a little spicier. 

Play around with the idea of a theme week. Change it up. Switch Meatless Monday for Meatball Monday and go with Italian night. Swap out Fast Food Friday for Fish Friday during Lent. This simple mind shift makes meal planning fun and predictable, lessening your mental load in the tastiest way. And don’t forget that eating cookie butter with a spoon while standing in the kitchen also counts as a meal in desperate times. Just saying.

Creators:
Katie Lemaire
Published:
March 27, 2024
March 25, 2024
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