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The 3-Ingredient Trader Joe’s Meal I Make When I’m Too Tired To Cook

welcome to Meal without fear, a column where we help you get through your busy week with quick, easy, low-stress dinner recipes that require 5 ingredients or fewer from our favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's.

Trader Joe's regularly saves me on weeknights when I just can't. I can't get my brain to work and I can't bring myself to make a meal from scratch. And while they have plenty of ready-to-eat options in the refrigerated and frozen sections, these complete meals tend to be single-serving. If you're feeding more than one person, you may want to put a few items together to call it a meal.

TJ's recently began selling a stir-fried vegetable mix that includes Napa cabbage, broccoli, bok choy and snow peas. I buy it quite regularly because its price is good at $3.49, it saves me a lot of preparation time and saves me from having to buy each vegetable individually for a dish.

Recently, I combined the stir-fry mix with two other favorites – their Baked Tofu and Crinkle Noodles – and it was the quick and delicious meal of my dreams. It's enough for two very hungry people or three moderately hungry people (I often end up saving a portion for lunch the next day).

This meal is well-balanced with a protein, plenty of veggies, and a carb, and a great deal at around $3.33 per serving. Did I mention it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare? A real victory during the week.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

How to Make My 3-Ingredient Trader Joe's Meal

For about three servings you will need:

Bring a medium to large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into squares, reserving the sauce. Heat the oil over medium heat in a wok or large frying pan.

Once the water is boiling, add both packages of noodles (reserving the sauces) and set a timer for four minutes. Add the stir-fry mix to the heated wok or pan and stir. Stir-fry while the noodles boil, stirring the noodles once they have softened. Add the tofu to the vegetables halfway through the four minutes with the sauce from the packet and continue to stir-fry.

Once the timer goes off, drain the noodles and toss them into the pan with the vegetables or use tongs to transfer them from the pot to the pan. Add the contents of the two sachets of sauce to the noodles and mix several times over the heat. Taste, add salt if necessary and serve.

Personalize it

My husband and I like to top our bowls with crunchy chili and dig into it, but you can offer other condiments, like more sriracha or sweet chili sauce. You can swap sriracha tofu for TJ's teriyaki tofu with equally delicious results.

If you're not a fan of tofu in general, you have several very tasty options. First, there's Trader Joe's Argentinian Red Shrimp with Ginger Garlic Butter in the refrigerated seafood section. Add the shrimp along with the tofu and sauté until opaque. Or swap the tofu for Trader Joe's frozen BBQ teriyaki chicken for a little extra goodness. Heat according to package directions and stir chicken and sauce into sautéed vegetables.

Simply Recipes / Laurel Randolph

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