Your favorite vegetarian frozen meals and convenience foods?
April 12, 2014 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Due to being really busy at work, being sad about something in my personal life, and having just moved and not yet finished unpacking or making space for myself in the shared kitchen, I'm having a problem with food/having no appetite, and I can't (don't want to) cook much at the moment. Basically eating has become a giant chore and nothing seems good. To help get through the next week or couple of weeks, I would like your suggestions for the best tasting vegetarian convenience foods and super easy recipes that you know of.

By very easy recipes, I mean things that can be made in one pot or pan if they require cooking, that don't have a lot of ingredients, that don't require much cutting up/prep work, and that don't require any perishable ingredients that I can't use all of in that recipe. For example, a recipe with cilantro wouldn't be good because I would only use a little bit and then the rest of the bunch would probably go bad. Or another example - cutting up a tomato would be fine, but cutting up an avocado would be borderline too much work, because of the messiness and skin removal, and because it doesn't keep very well and I probably wouldn't eat enough to eat a whole avocado in one meal.

By convenience foods, I mean things like pre-made frozen dinners (single serving or something like a frozen pizza where the leftovers keep pretty well) and snacks, stuff from the prepared foods section of a grocery store, energy bars/trail mix/chips type snack foods. I'm looking for specific brand and flavor/variety recommendations, rather than general suggestions.

I'm in the U.S., and I usually shop at Target and Trader Joe's. I can also go to Whole Foods or to any number of regular grocery stores (Von's, Ralph's, Albertson's, etc.).

The only dietary restriction is no meat (but I'm trying to transition from eating mostly vegetarian to mostly vegan, so vegan suggestions would be great too).

Healthiness in terms of protein/carbs/fat or sodium, etc. doesn't matter at all. Cost/price doesn't matter (much/within reason).

posted by treese to Food & Drink (47 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
We love Against the Grain Pizzas... they are a little pricey , I think around $12, but quite tasty.
posted by lobstah at 9:51 AM on April 12, 2014

Doesn't get much easier than the bag of Trader Joes Japanese Fried Rice from the freezer section...just cut off the corner of the bag and microwave for approx. 4 minutes, then dump it on a dish and eat. I usually save half for lunch the next day; it also reheats well.
posted by hellogoodbye at 9:53 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Larabars are good - no added sugar or preservatives or fillers, just nuts and fruit. I like the peanut butter cookie variety.

Quorn fake chicken nuggets - it's made from roughly mushroom proteins. I find the texture is pretty good and they are easy no-brainer in the toaster oven. They have patties, but with the nuggets you can tailor your serving size a little more finely. (Ditto frozen veggie meatballs, although I've found the quality varies widely.)

Frozen spanakopita are usually pretty good, I've had good luck with a bunch of brands. Again it's nice because you can choose however many you want. Check out the frozen hors d'ouvres in general, on the same principle that you can easily heat up just a few and pop the rest back in the freezer.

Fried eggs and toast.

Similarly, a simple egg-and-frozen-broccoli casserole is easy to put together and provides a quick fridge meal for several days.

Frozen steam-in-bag veggies are great. 5 minutes in the microwave yields two days' worth of cooked brussels sprouts, etc. They won't go bad because you keep them frozen until you're ready. Ive had very good luck with the Birdseye ones, more mixed with supermarket brand.

Greek yogurt is filling and proteinaceous; people vary a lot in which brands they prefer so might be worth trying one cup each of several brands.

Apples with peanut butter - if you get good firm apples, they'll keep well in the fridge. Applesauce also comes in single-serving cups for kids' lunchboxes.

String cheese or nuts for a quick no-prep protein hit.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:55 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

An apple with generous globs of peanut butter will take you pretty far. I like a gala apple w crunchy peanut butter, but you could substitute almond or hazelnut or even sunbutter.

Apples keep a fairly long time and so does peanut butter, which makes this extra awesome for times when even microwaving a thing seems like too much trouble.
posted by bilabial at 10:00 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Definitely Amy's. I especially like the "bowls." They're a little more expensive than the typical frozen meal, but Target often has them on sale.
posted by three_red_balloons at 10:00 AM on April 12, 2014

I buy Kashi frozen meals at Target. The Mayan Harvest Bake is my favorite.

Amy's spinach-feta pockets (like Hot Pockets) are good.

Some of the Lean Cuisine entrees are pretty good. I usually get veggie eggroll & butternut squash ravioli.

Trader Joes: Get the frozen Eggplant Parmesan patties, cook a couple & put them on pasta or in a sandwich. The frozen Pupusas were good with cheese & sour cream on top.
posted by belladonna at 10:11 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Baby carrots and hummus are also easy staples for this situation.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:21 AM on April 12, 2014

If you have an oven, bake a potato.

You can put any odds and ends you have left over on top. Any of the above mentioned foods go great on a potato!

-425 for 45-60 min depending on size
-Bake it right on the oven rack
-Don't forget to poke a couple of holes first
-Rub some oil on first if you want crispy skin
-Bake as many at one shot as you need, they reheat fine

(Take care!)
posted by mamabear at 10:22 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Pacific makes Organic Butternut Squash soup that can simply be heated in a pan - no additional prep. For additional crunch and spice, you can chop up a little apple and add a dash of nutmeg & cinnamon. You're home will smell wonderful plus you'll get to enjoy a little comfort food.

I also keep a Kashi pizza in the freezer for when I don't have time to prep. Just pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. I like it better than other frozen pizzas which are usually too doughy for me.

Here's a very simple recipe for skillet ziti with veggies:
In a deep skillet, combine 2 cups spaghetti sauce from a jar, 2 cups water, and bring to a boil; stir in 8 oz pasta and a 10 oz package of frozen stir fry veggies. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with shredded (packaged) mozzarella cheese. Done!
posted by kbar1 at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am in love with Trader Joe's frozen chile and cheese tamales. I usually have one with some avocado and a little Greek yogurt (since it's as good as sour cream in this case). Yum-yum-yum and filling. If I'm hungrier I'll heat some canned black beans for a side.
posted by lovableiago at 10:35 AM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Kashi's Mayan Harvest Bake is the only frozen meal I love, and I think I could eat it every day if I could.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 10:35 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tasty Bite has what you need! This list might help, too.

Here are some of my frozen favorites. (All vegan.)
* Amy's: Teriyaki Bowl, Black Bean Vegetable Burrito, Thai Red Curry, Veggie Loaf Whole Meal, Black Bean Enchilada Whole Meal, Quinoa & Black Beans with Butternut Squash & Chard.
* Gardein: Crispy Chick'n Sliders, Seven Grain Crispy Tenders, Marinara Chick'n Filets.
* Trader Joe's: Vegetable Thai Kao Soi, Sai Tung Green Curry & Red Gaba Rice.
Candle Cafe: Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce, Tofu Spinach Ravioli.
* Morningstar Farms: Hickory BBQ Riblets.
* Tofurky: Pepperoni Pizza Pockets.
* Field Roast: Celebration Roast.

For one-pot meals, I would do:
* Long-keeping vegetables roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper: Carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets.
* Lentil soup: Mince 1 onion and 2 cloves of garlic, add 2 diced carrots, saute in olive oil for ~5 minutes, add a tin of fire-roasted tomatoes, 1-2 tsp of basil, thyme, and/or oregano, 1-2 cups of brown lentils, and 6-8 cups of water. Cook 45-60 minutes, enjoy. Dash of vinegar or lemon juice at the end if you have it. (You can skip the aromatic frying step if you want to.) Have some bread on hand to soak up the tasty broth.
* Shorbat adas: Mince 1/2 onion and 2 cloves garlic, add 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp turmeric, saute in olive oil ~5 minutes, add 1.5 c red lentils and 8 cups of vegetable stock. Cook ~30 minutes. (Again, you can skip the aromatic frying step if you want.) Very good with pita bread or tortillas.

A food processor is excellent for nearly instant vegetable prep, if you have or can borrow one.

If your pantry is lacking and you'd like some packets of spices to make things interesting/extra-tasty, drop me a line and I'll mail you some!
posted by divined by radio at 10:36 AM on April 12, 2014 [7 favorites]

For cheap (vegan) protein: combine 1 can black beans and 1 can chopped tomatoes (buy the preseasoned kind of canned tomatoes) and heat. Eat over rice. Add cheese on top or chili powder to make it extra tasty.

I think Trader Joes sells big bags of rice in the freezer section that you can heat and eat.
posted by entropyiswinning at 10:39 AM on April 12, 2014

I shop at TJs a lot. For those weeks when I won't have the time or energy to cook, I buy the frozen rice and then pick out a frozen veggie. Add a little salt, olive oil and pepper and it's all good.

Nuts are great, which TJs has an excellent selection. Currently, I prefer their fancy raw mixed nuts. If you get the raw almonds they taste much better after a soak in water, anywhere from 20 minutes to 12 hours depending on how much time you have.

Eggs are quick and easy, if you're ok with them. I grate a little cheese (they have cheese from grassfed cows now!) and pour on some salsa. If you think that 12 eggs are too much then get the carton of 6.
posted by icanbreathe at 10:41 AM on April 12, 2014

This Chickpea casserole is my favorite exactly because it requires no chopping and sauteing whatsoever. You have to cook some rice (can do that in advance), but other than that, you just open some cans, throw everything in a pan and be done with it (I even skip the onion and replace with onion powder in this recipe because I have an onion-hater in my family). And it's super healthy. I usually eat it with heated up frozen spinach, so that there really is no chopping at all. The recipe is very forgiving too. I also use quick cooking barley instead of rice and have used other spices.
posted by blub at 10:51 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Trader joes has these frozen, microwaveable vegan black bean enchiladas that are pretty tasty.
posted by JenMarie at 10:52 AM on April 12, 2014

My two favorite easy frozen meals from Trader Joe's are their mushroom ravioli in truffle sauce and their black bean and cheese taquitos. I just dip the latter in a salsa/sour cream combo.

Oh, make that three: Their palak paneer (in a box, in the aisle with the spices and indian food and so on) is excellent, too. You'd want to make rice, which is an extra step, but if you don't have a rice cooker you can get frozen rice and microwave it right after you microwave the palak paneer.
posted by hought20 at 10:55 AM on April 12, 2014

This was one of those days for me. I had bread with hummus, cheese and tomato chopped into dice. I'm allergic to MSG, so a lot of fast foods are not available for me.

In my kitchen for coping with this situation are always:
organic gazpacho in a bottle
frozen potato and leek soup
spring onions
shallot onions
hummus in a tin
some kind of bread
some kind of cheese
olive oil
cottage cheese
vegan frozen pizza
lentils in a tin
frozen spinach
aryan yogurt drink

If I have no energy to cook, I will assemble something out of these ingredients and live for a week. Bread, hummus tomatoes like today. Another easy and healthy one is toasted bread, spinach, butter, lemon, salt. Maybe with some gazpacho as a starter.
Lentils are wonderful, though I usually soften a chopped onion in some oil before adding lentils and spices. Maybe that is already too much work - it was for me today.
Apple and crunchy peanut butter on a nice structured bread is great, I forgot that and will tomorrow immediately reintroduce it.
I just learnt today I should eat a little dark chocolate every day. So that will go in the bag tomorrow as well.

At times, I have enjoyed a levantine breakfast of ful from a tin. Right now, I'm not. But it is easy and protein-rich.

Sometimes, I really enjoy cooking as a hobby, and I make a lot of food for the freezer, mainly soups and stews, that are easy to reheat and eat on a tired day.
posted by mumimor at 10:56 AM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

I don't know if it goes the same for you, but I hit a point where I haven't eaten and food just sounds worse and worse as time goes on. I am not always good at DOING this, but it helps a lot to have a half dozen saltines and then make dinner after that, it helps get over the initial hurdle of eating and make the whole process seem less unappetizing, if that helps at all. Makes me a bit more tolerant of what time is necessary to handle the food to make something a bit more substantial.
posted by Sequence at 10:57 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of my favourite 'recipes' is to stick a fork into a sweet potato a few times, microwave till it's good and soft (normally around 8 mins for me, but my microwave sucks and I buy large sweet potatoes), cut it open, and stick a half cup of full-fat cottage cheese on top (the low-fat versions are pretty tasteless). You could switch out the cottage cheese for any other fillings that sound good.

I also really like the Second Nature brand for their bags of nuts and dried fruit - a little pricier than other brands, but with much less cheap filler stuff. And often has sales on their products, several of which are vegetarian.
posted by littlegreen at 11:21 AM on April 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Can you get Celentano frozen entrees where you are? Only mass-market frozen eggplant parmigiana I've ever liked (not that there is a wide selection there). The broccoli stuffed shells were very good too, but I'm not in the US anymore and it's not clear that they still make them.

(I also miss Trader Joe's cheese enchiladas)
posted by kmennie at 11:30 AM on April 12, 2014

I agree, everything from Amy's is amazing. Frozen dinners I'm fond of include pesto pizza, roasted vegetable pizza, lasagna, cheddar bowl, pad thai. My mom really likes the Mexican-style stuff. Trader Joe's also sells some Amy's stuff under a house label. Amy's is available at Target

I've recently gotten into Evol Foods. Not everything is vegetarian, but I do like the butternut squash ravioli. You can find their stuff at Target.

Kashi frozen dinners are a little hit or miss for me but I like the Mayan Harvest Bake as well. They have it as Target too.

In the refrigerated section of TJ's there is a great butternut squash ravioli - I think they're triangoli actually. In that same section are some really tasty pre-made salads too.

Tasty Bite Indian food is awesome, and TJ's sells it as well. It's sold on the shelf in a box, but inside is a foil pouch, and you just heat it up on the stove or in the microwave. Throw that on top of rice (TJ's has frozen microwaveable rice!) and you have a great meal. I really like the Madras Lentil.
posted by radioamy at 11:37 AM on April 12, 2014

This is basically my whole diet as well. Most importantly, rice crackers, hummus, cheese. Then yogurts (Chobani) plus granola as well. Bananas, and small oranges if easy to peel. Homemade soup if you are up for it...but if not:

I can vouch for Amy's products, I used to eat the Bean and Pasta soup ALL THE TIME as well as the lentil ones. Amy's burritos are also very good as are the pizzas ...if you have the patience to wait! Eat salad with each of those to complete meal (and by salad, see below...)

Trader Joe's tamales are also very good.

When I used to be more energetic after work, I would just eat pasta (wait-time 11 min) with pre-made tomato sauce and eat arugula tipped out of the bag/box. Or baby spinach. Or instead have ravioli, or pasta with pesto etc. also with the 'salad'.

You will be fine, I honestly have eaten like this for years- live in NYC, come home starving, eat mostly vegetarian, only buy small amounts of food at a time, no patience for cook times/clean up when's not bad, actually!:)
posted by bquarters at 11:41 AM on April 12, 2014

Our favorite fast and vegetarian Trader Joe's meal is the frozen Thai gyoza dumplings or veggie samosas with one of their tetrapak soups (tomato or tomato/red pepper).
posted by fussbudget at 11:42 AM on April 12, 2014

I don't know if you have this where you are but my local grocery store has stuff (in the frozen food section) from Sol Cuisine. It is great when I really want a veggie burger but don't want to leave the house. The felafel is also delicious, and all you have to do is shake it out of the box and onto a pan.
posted by janepanic at 11:52 AM on April 12, 2014

(Nice thing about that soup is you can just heat up as much as you want - the soup will keep in the package in the fridge for 7-10 days. Don't forget to shake it first, though, since it does tend to settle.)
posted by fussbudget at 11:53 AM on April 12, 2014

If you're getting Trader Joe's Indian meals and like Naan bread - mine carries bags of plain and garlic in the frozen (not the bread) section that are actually imported from India. They taste exactly like what you'd get at a restaurant and go great with paneer.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 11:56 AM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

When I have no desire or energy to eat anything else, I rely on this Minsley Cooked Organic Brown Rice. More expensive than cooking your own for sure, but less pricey than most of the yummies listed above. And 90 seconds from intention-to-eat to shoveling it in. And it's GOOD. Even better if you have the energy and inspiration to add stuff: beans, frozen veg, sauce, even milk + fruit for rice pudding.
posted by Corvid at 11:58 AM on April 12, 2014

Not at all gourmet but easy and fast and vegan:

steam frozen broccoli in microwave til partly done, add cubes of firm tofu, sprinkle with soy sauce and/or toasted sesame oil, put in microwave until tofu is hot.

I also really like TJ's Indian meals in packets, specifically the Chana Masala and the one that's like lentils in cream sauce (blue package, can't remember what it's called.) Eat them with some pita or naan if you want to round them out.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:00 PM on April 12, 2014

Nthing Amy's and Kashi.

These GoPicnic boxed meals are super convenient, and great to keep in a pantry for when you have no time/energy for food prep at all.
posted by Fig at 12:07 PM on April 12, 2014

When I was in grad school I passed a trader joe's on my way home from lab and bought a lot of convenience foods. These are some of my vegetarian favorites:

Mildly spiced vegetable burritos
Cheese tamales
Boxed indian food
The tortillas with the blue label made into pb&j roll ups or quesodillas
Cans of vegetarian chili and chips
Frozen eggplant parmesan
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 12:24 PM on April 12, 2014

I don't really like ready meals much, and lots of them are too expensive for what they are, or are weird sized portions, or have lots of added salt and sugar. So I've tried to think of food that is really tasty and easy to cook, but still more nutritious than ready meals. All of these use storecupboard/frozen ingredients, so there shouldn't be much waste. They're all pretty cheap as well, fwiw.

Pasta with frozen peas, broad beans and feta. Boil the pasta, peas and beans together in a pan. Drain. Add crumbled feta and a slug of white wine vinegar.

Cauliflower cheese soup (pan full of frozen cauliflower florets, one quartered potato, boil until soft, blitz with stick blender, stir in cheese)

Rice, pesto, puy lentils (cook on the hob, everything in the pan at once, the lentils don't need pre-soaking and will be done when the rice is done ie 10-15mins). Grate cheese over top or add balsamic if you want, it's fine without. In fact if you have a rice cooker or le creuset-style lidded casserole there are about a million oven-baked risotto recipes out there that involve next to no effort.

Packet miso soup, boil with chopped tofu and dried noodles for miso ramen.

Parippu/harira/any other spicy lentil soup. You tend to just shove all the ingredients in a pan and come back an hour later. The spices are usually dried, onions and garlic last forever and lots of things like ginger and fresh cilantro are actually really freezable (I was given a kilo of fresh ginger once, I froze it and ate it over several years, and it was fine).

Jacket potatoes with baked beans and cheese, cottage cheese, or boursin and cheddar cheese.

Toast with baked beans and cheese, poached egg on toast, welsh rarebit, mashed banana on toast with honey, peanut butter on toast, tahini and honey on toast, houmous on toast. Sliced bread freezes really well, so buy a really nice loaf from a great bakery, slice and freeze it, and just pull out a slice when you want it.

Cheese and biscuits are a great option, with some baton carrots, grapes or chopped apple.

Hope you feel a bit brighter soon!
posted by tinkletown at 12:31 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I usually keep my freezer full of Amy's "no cheese" "roasted vegetable" pizza. I sprinkle paprika and nutritional yeast on mine to give it a bit more flavor. You can get it at Whole Foods. (Why the front of the package doesn't advertise "artichokes" as one of the ingredients is a mystery to me.)
posted by John Cohen at 1:04 PM on April 12, 2014

Jeff Novick has a Facebook page with super simple healthy vegan recipes.
posted by blub at 1:16 PM on April 12, 2014

These potstickers are my favorite. Fifteen minutes of simmering and you're good to go. Those are available at my local grocery store and at some Whole Foods, but in general, asian markets have a lot of really good potstickers and usually some of them are vegetarian. I know people usually eat them as appetizers, but actually they include vegetables, tofu, and rice, so they're a pretty complete meal on their own.

I'm also a fan of this udon soup with sirachia, tofu, and some shredded cabbage or bok choy (cabbage especially lasts for a long time). Cabbage and tofu, and a little lime juice, also really punch up these peanut noodles. The idea you want is prepackaged food + a couple of additional ingredients to make it a meal.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:29 PM on April 12, 2014

Ooh, also, Amy's lentil soup with some asiago on top is fantastic, and takes literally three minutes in the microwave.
posted by you're a kitty! at 1:31 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

When my partner goes away I Do Not Cook. Nothing in my house is made with fire unless you count toast. So:

Toast and soup
Mini mozerellas and quartered tomato salad
Hoummus and veggies
Cottage cheese with a cut up orange or mango or cucumber
Tin of drained chickpeas with cubed cucumber with vinaigrette
Individual bag of plain tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole (If you are feeling ambitious, add grated cheese and melt it for easy nachos. The cheese, salsa and guacamole containers will keep for another dinner or another lunch with another bag of tortilla chips.)
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing Amy's burritos. My favorite is the cheddar cheese in the red packet. TJ's frozen palak paneer. Cedarlane enchilada pie. TJ's frozen brown rice with canned black beans, steamed or leftover roasted veggies, or white beans and kale.
posted by hairy terrarium at 1:48 PM on April 12, 2014

Hi, I too am a stressed out vegetarian who hates to cook. I live next to a Trader Joe's and mostly eat what they sell me:

Definitely good: Trader Joe's edamame nuggets, veggie gyoza, thai vegan pad thai bowl, palaak paneer, enchiladas and burritos, and the rice pilaf with the raisins in it. Most of the frozen things are a can't-lose.

From the convenience meals section, the lentil or eggplant wraps are pretty good, and they're big enough to be a meal and a snack. The mushroom tortellini bowl is fine. The veggie sushi is nice but you need something else, so I suggest one of the tofu snack sticks (teriyaki and savory are both nice) on the side. The options for fully vegetarian salads are surprisingly limited, and I don't care for the dressings in any of them, but the actual salads are pretty good. There are some prepared Asian "street food" boxes that are sort of greasy but OK, notably the pad thai.

The main thing I eat is two slices of toast with a nuked veggie patty of some kind, a slice of cheese, and an apple. You can replace the cheese with prepared hummus or guacamole and it's also good. There is a startling variety of frozen veggie patties available in the world and they all taste pretty much the same.

Of the energy bars with less than10g of sugar (the sugar
/protein ratio is what I care about, but my suggestion to you is to buy one of everything that looks appealing and try them all, then buy a case of the favorites), the Powercrunch and ThinkThin are my favorites, especially the ThinkThin white chocolate. Larabars and Clif bars taste OK too; Clif bars are kind of chalky to my taste. Kind bars taste the best but are not filling. The lemon Luna bar is the best Luna bar.

Of the cracker options, Ak Mak and Wasa crackers are the most filling. Add hummus, cheese, etc. (They have pre-sliced cheese. Of the vegan cheeses only Daiya is worth a damn.) The Multiseed With Soy mini round crackers are a great snack and go well with cream cheese or spinach dip and a beer. For breakfast, yogurt of any kind and Uncle Sam cereal, maybe a spoonful of jam and a banana.

Other than that, get your produce and bread elsewhere. Nonpackaged Trader Joe's food is fairy gold, basically, and goes bad too quickly. Good produce keepers are apples, bosc pears, carrots, root veg in general, onions, and anything frozen in a bag.

Good luck!
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:56 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Trader Joes frozen Mildly Spiced Vegetarian Burritos are the bomb.

I can eat them on their own, but for about 6 months my usual work lunch was one of those on a bed of fresh spinach with a sprinkling of Unexpected Cheddar (also from TJs).

I ate them frequently enough that the bag of spinach doesn't have a chance to go bad, and as long as the cheese is kept properly, it stays decent, too.

If pasta isn't too much effort, a trick that I use is to microwave jarred sauce in the bowl I'm going to eat out of (or a large pyrex measuring cup). Mix in frozen veggies (again, my go-to is spinach, but TJs has a nice selection of frozen veggies that goes beyond the usual peas/corn/beans/carrots mix) for extra nutrition/variety/body.
posted by itesser at 3:45 PM on April 12, 2014

We also make easy pizzas a lot at our house:
Preheat oven to 400.
Take one Trader Joe's frozen naan. Put a couple spoonfuls of jarred spaghetti sauce on top & spread it around. Sprinkle with pre-grated mozarella cheese.
Bake about 10 minutes until cheese is melty.

It's faster than frozen pizza & takes up much less room in a shared freezer/fridge.
posted by belladonna at 4:20 PM on April 12, 2014

Some of the responses to the question I asked recently are vegetarian items.
posted by gudrun at 4:24 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like Amy's vegetable lentil soup with added chopped kale/bok choi.

That or Trader Joe's veggie gyozas.

More recently I've been warming up sweetener-free italian-made pasta sauce with a can of chickpeas, and calling that dinner.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:36 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! I went shopping today and bought many of the things you guys suggested, and plan to try some of the other recipes/suggestions next weekend too. I still don't have much appetite but at least now I will have plenty to choose from and to take to work for lunch next week. This was extremely helpful, thank you everyone who answered.
posted by treese at 5:49 PM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Dump a couple of cans of creamed corn into a saucepan over medium heat, with a can of water and a vege stock cube (or some salt, if that's too hard). When it's simmering, turn off the heat and stir in a couple of beaten eggs in a steady stream. You now have a rich, custardy, savoury corn soup.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:16 AM on April 13, 2014

Just went to the grocery store yesterday and picked up a few more Amy's dinners. Chowing down the Cheddar Pasta Bowl right now, that's amazing. I also like the Pesto Tortellini Bowl.
posted by radioamy at 8:06 PM on April 14, 2014

If you go the GoPicnic route, they are having a 50% off everything sale today (4/15/14). Never, ever buy them full price. They have specials and deals every couple of weeks and I stock up when they're half price. They are AWESOME and I would definitely recommend.
I take them with me to campus and to work to resist buying expensive junk that doesn't keep me nearly as satisfied. If you can pair it with a piece of fruit you will really be golden!
posted by rubster at 6:57 PM on April 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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