These convenient packaged meals can help you get dinner on the table faster and with less stress on those extra busy days.

Joyce Hendley
September 30, 2019

Here we've taken our favorite convenience foods—from frozen vegetables to breaded fish fillets—and added a few fresh ingredients to transform them into a complete supper in minutes flat. They do much of the prep work—and flavor finessing—for you. Having convenient packaged-meal starters on hand can help you get a fast and healthy dinner on the table on the busiest of night, so add these items to your shopping list and stock up the next time you're at the store (especially when you can find them on sale).

See More: Shortcut Dinner Ideas

Modern Table Complete Protein Pasta: Sundried Tomato-Basil Penne

320 cal / 17 g protein / 5 g fiber per 1-cup serving

Why we love it

This dry pasta kit comes complete with a sauce packet and sun-dried tomatoes. The protein-rich red lentil noodles cook up tender in a flash and just happen to be gluten free.

What to do with it

One-Pan Pasta Primavera: Cook pasta according to package directions, adding in some frozen veggies in the last two minutes of cooking; drain. Stir in a can of rinsed white beans with some olive oil and the seasoning packet. Cook, stirring, until hot.

Teton Waters Ranch Burger Blends - Mushroom & Onion

180 cal / 13 g protein / 0 g fiber per 4-oz. burger

Why we love it

Vegetables are blended with grass-fed, antibiotic- and hormone-free beef in these burgers to add flavor and nutrition while decreasing their carbon footprint.

What to do with it

Lettuce Wraps (pictured at the top of the article): Crumble thawed burgers into a skillet and cook until no longer pink; stir in a handful of shredded carrots and chopped scallions with some peanut or hoisin sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and spoon into lettuce leaves.

Hook Line & Savor Black Bean Crusted Cod with Roasted Corn & Red Pepper Salsa

170 calories / 15 g protein / 4 g fiber per serving (1 filet with 2 tbsp salsa)

Why we love it

No frying needed for a wonderfully crisp fillet. The coating is protein- and fiber-rich, boosted with dried black beans and peas plus a flavorful touch of garlic, lime and jalapeño.

What to do with it

Super-Fast Fish Tacos: Bake fillets according to package directions. Cut into bite-sized chunks and layer in warmed corn tortillas with coleslaw mix, chopped onions and avocado, and top with the included salsa.

Tasty Bite Channa Masala

170 cal / 6 g protein / 5 g fiber per serving (2/3 cup)

Why we love it

Open a shelf-stable, 2-serving pouch, and you've got a perfectly seasoned, plant-protein-powered curry that's even better with some extra cooked vegetables stirred in.

What to do with it

Indian-Inspired Pasta Salad: Toss the heated channa masala with cooked pasta and cauliflower or broccoli florets; sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a little shredded coconut.

Trader Joe's Multigrain Blend with Vegetables

180 cal / 5 g protein / 5 g fiber

Why we love it

Think of this quick-cooking frozen melange of three kinds of rice, whole grains and tons of veggies as "rice with benefits".

What to do with it

Quick Grain Salad: Thaw the grain mixture and stir in some chopped rotisserie chicken, baby spinach or kale, sliced apples and a handful of chopped herbs. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and toss.

Halfway to Dinner | EatingWell October 2019
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