11 of the Best Store-Bought Dinner Shortcuts to Stock in Your Freezer Right Now

published Aug 23, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Even the most dedicated home chefs need a break from their regularly scheduled cooking sometimes. That’s why frozen shortcuts exist. (Well, it’s not the only reason they exist, but it’s a key reason!) Frozen shortcuts are here for us all when even a 30-minute dinner feels like too much cooking. Or when we have very little in the fridge. Or when it’s 8 p.m. and we’re hangry and tired.

Which ones should you buy? There are lots of great options out there, actually. These are just a few of our top picks. These frozen groceries require almost no work when you need to make a weekday dinner in a pinch. Some can be eaten on their own, as is, and a few others need a little (emphasis on the little) something extra. Let’s take a look.

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

1. Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza 

The best thing about gyoza is that you have three cooking options: pan-fry, microwave, or steam. While all three take less than 10 minutes, our favorite method is to steam them. They get perfectly soft without turning mushy.

Find them: Thai Vegetable Gyoza, $3.99 at Trader Joe’s 

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

2. Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala

This Trader Joe’s mainstay comes with basmati rice and chicken drenched in sauce. Pro tip: Pair it with Trader Joe’s garlic naan to really celebrate all the hearty meal has to offer.

Find it: Chicken Tikka Masala, $3.99 at Trader Joe’s

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

3. Tattooed Chef Organic Riced Cauliflower Stir-Fry

Vegan and gluten-free, this organic riced cauliflower stir-fry is light and perfect for lunch and dinner alike. The main reason we love this? The sesame ginger sauce is delightfully flavorful without taking away the natural taste of the peppers, corn, and peas.

Buy: Organic Riced Cauliflower Stir Fry, $3.72 for 12-ounce bag at Walmart

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

4. Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

It’s been two years since the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi debuted, and it’s still living up to the hype of its glory days. The best part? The cauliflower flavor isn’t overpowering, which makes it easy to smother in your favorite pasta sauce, be it marinara or pesto. One serving is very filling, so this makes a wholesome dinner or lunch if you want to treat yourself in the middle of the day.

Find it: Cauliflower Gnocchi, $2.79 at Trader Joe’s

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

5. La Terra Fina Quiche

Quiche does not get enough credit. Warm one of these up for dinner and serve with a quick side salad. The egg white custard base enveloped in a flaky crust earns melt-in-your-mouth status. Note: We’ve seen these at regular grocery stores, but the two-packs at Costco will really set you up for success.

Read more: Quiche 2-Pack, $12.69 for two at Costco 

Credit: Aldi

6. Earth Grown Black Bean Chipotle or Veggie Burger

There’s nothing like a veggie burger to spice things up. Literally. These peppery Southwestern-style patties can be prepared straight from frozen. Serve with sweet potato fries or tots to round out the meal.

Read more: Earth Grown Black Bean Chipotle or Veggie Burger, $3.29 for 10 ounces at Aldi

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

7. Amylu Italian-Style Chicken Meatballs

These Paleo, gluten-free chicken meatballs are truly the gifts that keep on giving. A package comes with 44 meatballs — all made from chicken meat, for a lean take on the Italian classic. Simmer in tomato sauce to enjoy them to the fullest.

Find them: Italian-Style Chicken Meatballs $14.99 at Costco 

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

8. Trader Joe’s Eggwich Sandwich

This brand-new Trader Joe’s breakfast sandwich is great if you follow a gluten-free diet: The turkey sausage and American cheese are sandwiched between two egg patties. Breakfast for dinner is always a winner.

Find it: Eggwich Sandwich, $4.99 for two at Trader Joe’s

Credit: Target

9. Healthy Choice Simply Steamers Frozen Beef and Broccoli

Let’s give a round of applause for this microwave-ready steaming bowl of beef and broccoli. It’s honestly reminiscent of the takeout favorite — but it conveniently lives right in your freezer.

Buy: Frozen Beef and Broccoli, $3.19 for 9.15 ounces at Target

Credit: Antonia DeBianchi

10. Trident Seafoods Pacific Salmon Burgers

These salmon burgers are perfection when pan-fried. Whether you prefer nestling the patty in between a sesame burger bun or resting it on top of a bed of lettuce, make sure you add homemade tartar sauce or mayonnaise for extra flair. 

Buy: Pacific Salmon Burgers, $21.95 for three pounds at Costco

Credit: Target

11. Stouffer’s Frozen Chicken Enchiladas Family Size

Extra chicken without an upcharge? We’ll take it. These family-size enchiladas are packed with double the protein and are loaded with veggies, rice, and unbelievably rich queso.

Buy: Frozen Chicken Enchiladas, $7.49 for 30 ounces at Target

What are your go-to frozen dinner shortcuts? Tell us in the comments below.