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As inflation soars, food prices are seeing some of the biggest increases, as the U.S. Department of Labor reports food was one of the top three largest drivers of price hikes, along with gas and shelter, last month. The report says that prices of poultry, eggs and fish have seen a 13.6% price increase, while beef prices have shot up by 16.2%—and eating out has also become even pricier. While these stats can seem a bit overwhelming, along with grocery shopping itself, Trader Joe's is here to help by sharing six delicious recipes that can feed a family of four—or a group of friends—for just $10.
You'll find the recipes below, as well as some expert advice from our resident dietitians, Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD, and Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, on how to make these meals even more nutritious and delicious with a few simple tweaks. Now, you have weeknight dinners covered and a cozy breakfast to make one thing easier in your busy week!
1. Spicy Quick Chicken Chili
Get the recipe: Trader Joe's Spicy Quick Chicken Chili
What we love about this recipe is that it features ingredients we likely already have in our cupboards and fridges. Plus, it's a 30-minute dish that can easily be stretched with an extra can of beans if needed. The recipe notes also suggest that it tastes even better the next day, so it's a great meal-prep pick and makes an easy office lunch later in the week.
"Especially if you're on a budget, canned foods are a great way to have nutritious food on hand that lasts a long time," says Ball. "This chili recipe includes beans for a fiber and protein boost, as well as tomatoes to up the vegetable intake. That said, canned tomatoes that are flavored and taco seasoning can contain a lot of sodium, so try to opt for no-salt-added canned goods when you can or add a boost of potassium with raw or frozen greens like spinach or kale." (Potassium helps to counteract sodium, to balance blood pressure.)
Ball adds, "Paired with a slice of whole-grain bread or side salad, this chili makes a meal that is both affordable and healthy."
2. Battered Fish Nugget Tacos
Get the recipe: Trader Joe's Battered Fish Nugget Tacos
We absolutely love a fish taco, and this battered version makes for a simple lunch or dinner. Trader Joe's Organic Broccoli Slaw offers a fiber-rich boost, and using the brand's Greek yogurt delivers an extra bump of protein. And while the recipe calls for naturally gluten-free corn tortillas, you can also use their delicious whole-wheat flour tortillas.
Ball loves this recipe because it's a great way to give your family an extra serving of fish (an important part of the Mediterranean diet), without pushing your grocery budget too much.
"I love that this recipe takes advantage of frozen prepared fish that can be baked in just 15 minutes," she says. "The broccoli slaw is a quick and easy way to add vegetables, and would make a great side salad if there were extra left over. Not to mention, corn is actually a whole grain, so the tortillas provide a serving of whole grains. To me, this meal is well-rounded and sounds delicious."
3. Beer & Brats Pasta
Get the Recipe: Trader Joe's Beer & Brats Pasta
This ultra-cozy dinner features Trader Joe's Uncured Bavarian Bratwurst and Simple Times Pilsner (lager is OK, too) for a comforting pasta dish. You could always use one of TJ's legume-based pastas for a fiber-friendly swap, and we'd love to toss in some sautéed kale for a veggie serving that still pairs well with bratwurst. But Ball says to watch out for high levels of sodium here, especially if you have to watch your intake due to a health condition.
"This pasta recipe sounds super comforting and easy to make, and I love the addition of onion, [bell] pepper and garlic to up the vegetable intake," Ball says. "However, the brats used in the recipe are pretty high in sodium, so it might be better as a special-occasion dinner rather than a weekly staple. Adding beer to make a sauce is a creative way to use up an ingredient you already have on hand, but broth would likely work in its place if you don't drink. I would also add any greens or herbs I had on hand to freshen up the flavor and give it a nutrition boost."
4. Classic Pepperoni Calzone
Get the Recipe: Trader Joe's Classic Pepperoni Calzone
Trader Joe's also has your next pizza night covered. Get the whole family involved by making their own and consider adding a few other toppings that you already have in the fridge or pantry like olives, chopped veggies and feta or Parmesan cheese. You can also swap in the brand's whole-wheat pizza dough to up the fiber content of your meal—the kids will still love it!
"I love that this easy dinner requires just a few ingredients. If you swap in whole-wheat pizza dough and add in a veggie or two—like spinach or bell peppers—you can up the fiber count of this meal for more staying power," says Seaver.
5. Curry Tempeh Stir-Fry
Get the Recipe: Trader Joe's Curry Tempeh Stir-Fry
This plant-based dish is a simple (and inexpensive way) to satisfy your craving for something comforting and delicious. Trader Joe's Ready Veggies and Thai-Style Red Curry Sauce make prep a cinch, so you can get dinner on the table in 20 minutes. While it'll never be as delicious as an authentic Thai curry, it hits the spot when you need something quick from the pantry. Between the tempeh, bell pepper and veggie medley, you've got a nice dose of fiber to help keep you full until morning, and we love to serve this with some white or brown rice to bulk this dish up a bit.
"This is a great, well-rounded meal," says Seaver. "It uses a plant-based source of protein—tempeh—which delivers extra fiber and less saturated fat than animal protein, and the extra veggies add even more fiber and nutrients, like vitamin A and folate." Saturated fat, which is found primarily in animal products, can harm your heart when you eat too much, so adding more plant-based sources of protein help to keep your heart—and the rest of your body—healthy. And vitamins A and C help support a healthy immune system.
"The red Thai curry sauce adds lots of delicious flavor, but bottled sauces tend to be higher in sodium," says Seaver, "Try using one-third or the bottle, plus low-sodium broth, to help achieve a flavorful, vibrant sauce with less salt. Or try stirring in extra spices, like curry powder, for a lower-sodium flavor boost."
6. Soy Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich
Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo is one of its most popular vegetarian and vegan products, and this comforting 20-minute meal is a great way for eaters of all kinds to try it out. Paired with an egg, a big handful of arugula and TJ's fluffy Ciabatta Rolls, this is a breakfast that will get you out of bed in the morning—or a crowd-pleasing dinner that comes together with ease after a busy workday.
"A quick breakfast sandwich is a delicious and efficient way to start the day," says Seaver. "I like that this one has a generous handful of arugula in the mix for some early-A.M. veggies and an egg for a satisfying protein boost. But while the soy chorizo delivers a source of plant-based protein, it also delivers a decent amount of sodium." To help keep the sodium to a minimum, we recommend you use just enough chorizo to deliver delicious flavor but rely on other lower-sodium flavor boosters, like a little hot sauce or fresh herbs. "And if you can find whole-wheat ciabatta, or a different kind of whole-wheat bread, the extra fiber is always a bonus," says Seaver.
Get the Recipe: Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo Breakfast Sandwich