No Time to Cook? These Trader Joe's Meals Can Bail You Out

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Many people who lack time to cook turn to takeout, but it can get expensive. 
  • Buying these Trader Joe's entrees could save you time and money. 

Don't overpay for takeout when Trader Joe's can come to the rescue.

When it comes to food prep in my house, I tend to be very conflicted. See, I happen to like cooking and am actually pretty decent with it. 

But there's one thing I seriously lack when it comes to cooking -- time to do it. Not only do I work full-time, but I also have a gaggle of kids who constantly need to be driven somewhere. Between that, my laundry piles, volunteer work, and various other obligations, there are weeks when I barely have time to sleep, let alone spend hours in the kitchen making meals.

For this reason, I tend to rely on takeout during those busy periods. But that's not exactly good for my savings account. And also, takeout meals aren't always the most healthy, so I try to limit the extent to which I rely on them.

If you're someone who's trying to cut back on takeout but also doesn't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, here's some good news. Trader Joe's carries a variety of prepared entrees you can serve up in no time. Here are a few worth checking out. 

1. Roasted Garlic & Pesto Pizza with Deep Fried Crust

Although pizza isn't the most expensive meal out there, ordering it frequently can really add to your credit card bills. Rather than go that route, pick up some of these Trader Joe's pizzas. For just $5.99 apiece, you'll get a ready-to-serve pie loaded with unique toppings. 

2. Kung Pao Chicken

When it comes to feeling full, a little protein can go a long way. And it never hurts to consume some vegetables for good measure. This Trader Joe's entree satisfies both criteria. For just $5.99 for a 23-ounce package, you can enjoy dark meat chicken with a host of veggies, from peppers to onions to water chestnuts. Throw this over some rice, and you'll really have a complete meal.

3. Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice

For many people, chicken and rice is classic comfort food. And if you don't have time to cook it yourself, you can buy this combo from Trader Joe's. You'll get a 12.5-ounce box for $4.49 that's perfect for anyone who enjoys a good curry. 

4. Bulgur Pilaf with Butternut Squash & Feta Cheese

If you follow a vegetarian diet, you might sometimes struggle with a lack of variety in your meals, especially when it comes to prepared foods. But this Trader Joe's concoction is worth trying out. It combines a delicious grain with sweet butternut squash and some feta cheese for a kick. You can score a 14.1-ounce box for just $3.49.

5. Layered Beef Tostada

Sometimes, you just need a little spice in your life. Enter this layered beef concoction. It's loaded with tasty enchilada sauce and seasoning, and if you have an air fryer, you can heat it up in roughly seven to nine minutes. Trader Joe's sells this eight-ounce entree for $3.99.

If you run into a string of weeks when you don't have time to cook, don't beat yourself up -- it happens to the best of us. But also, don't be so quick to resort to takeout. You may find that these Trader Joe's meals do the trick of feeding your family at a fraction of the price.

Alert: our top-rated cash back card now has 0% intro APR until 2025

This credit card is not just good – it’s so exceptional that our experts use it personally. It features a lengthy 0% intro APR period, a cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee! Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow