It’s The Little Things: The Best Of The Pre-Prepared Meals


My husband’s shifts at work vary. I usually make a meal when he is home about five times a week. There are those nights though when I just don’t want to cook. Either it is just me and the kids and I don’t want to make a huge meal for just the three of us or my kitchen might be clean and I don’t want to mess it up. I can’t be the only one who feels that way about a clean kitchen, right? Please tell me I’m not alone.. Or maybe I am just plain ol’ tired. Whatever the case may be, I have tried many a prepared meal from the grocery store. Here are some that I go to again and again that I felt were worthy enough of sharing:


Raviolis by Rana. I think these are the most authentic tasting Italian items at the grocery store.

I love their lasagna noodles. I use them exclusively for my lasagna. A few months ago I was at the grocery store and a woman was blocking my access to the noodles.

I waited and waited for her to move but she kept studying the packaging.

Finally, I decided to intervene. I assumed she was undecided upon the product.

“They’re really good,” I said.

She looked up at me in surprise.

“Oh! Yes! This is my brother’s company,” she proudly proclaimed. “I didn’t know it was in stores yet.”

We chatted some more and she recommended the pesto product which she used to help sell at the farmer’s market. I am so glad I ran into her because I loved the pesto she recommended and now I purchase it whenever I need it for a recipe.

Isn’t it a small and funny world?

I buy the family ravioli version which is around $8 a package. I add a can of marinara sauce that I have heated on the stove to the drained ravioli. Easy peasy.


Indian food.

Hands down. Feet down. Any old body part you want to throw in right now would be down. Whatever that means. Down is good here. Maya Kaimal’s Indian sauces in a two pack from Costco are the very best preprepared dish I can find. The flavors are so intense and wonderful. I love Indian food and these little containers of curry taste like sauces I would find in a restaurant.

I shred up a rotisserie chicken and add it to the simmering sauce. I also add a half of a stick of butter to it. Because why wouldn’t I? One container serves my whole family of four with no leftovers. I always have these in my refrigerator. I serve them over steamed white rice (perfect white rice is double the water to your amount of rice- I do 2 1/2 cups of rice and 5 cups of water, 2 Tbsp. Butter. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover with a lid for twenty five minutes. Turn off heat and allow to rest for five minutes before removing lid).

I also serve it with naan bread that I always have in my freezer. And I also chop up some cilantro (another refrigerator staple) and sprinkle it over the top.

My family loves everything about both of these sauces. We cannot decide which flavor is our favorite. They are both amazing. Very spicy but good.


Trader Joe’s Pastas

My family and I actually find Trader Joe’s dry pastas gummy and feel they have an odd off-putting flavor (if I were to guess, I would guess cinnamon). However, their frozen pastas are actually pretty good.

They are not amazing but they are good for a frozen pasta. I am not a fan of frozen pastas with meat in them. I like that these are exclusively noodles and sauce. That is surprisingly hard to find. I buy two and serve them to my children. My daughter likes the marinara version best. My son likes the Alfredo. As for me? I like to mix them.


Of the five brands that I have tried numerous amounts of times, the best pre-packaged spinach is found at Von’s. I know that seems odd, but there it is. The flavor at Von’s is always mild and just fantastic. I use it in my favorite salad at least twice a week.


Foster Farm’s Chicken Tenders

I know. Frozen chicken strips? How original, Jenni. This is more of a comparison recommendation than something that is unique and special. This brand is my family’s favorite. I have tried many brands. In my opinion, these are simply the best. They stay crispy cooked in the oven. The calorie count is not bad compared to fried chicken strips in restaurants. They also make a glutten free version. I serve them with baked potatoes and salad. It does not get easier than that.


Last, these french fries from Trader Joes are amazing. They are oven baked so they are not as bad for you as other fast food fries. I used to grab bags of these from the San Diego Trader Joes because I had never seen them at my local store. The other day, my store had a few bags. I exclaimed to the man stacking them in the freezer section, “Yay! You finally got these fries in!”

He looked at me puzzled and said, “We’ve always carried these. They just sell out.”

So, if you don’t see them at your local store, now you know why. They go quickly!

What are your go-to pre-prepared meals? I am always looking for new ones to try. I was madly in love with Albertson’s frozen manicotti and they discontinued it a few months ago. Do you know any store that sells frozen manicotti with no sauce? Just stuffed shells or noodles? They are more expensive to make than I used to find frozen. Any leads would be very much appreciated. : )

It’s The Little Things: Baskin-Robbins In The Grocery Store!


If you think you have seen me at the grocery store, it probably was not me.

Three things need to be going on simultaneously in order for it to be a true Jenni sighting (which sounds insanely obnoxious, but is meant to be funny):

1. My arms must be so laden with food that random strangers will cluck their tongues as I go by and remark, “you should have grabbed a basket.”

Well, of course I should have grabbed a basket. What was the first clue? The jar of maraschino cherries I am clenching between my thighs or the package of ice cream cones I am balancing on top of my head? I would have said as much if my loaf of bread was not being held between my teeth. But you never know what food inspiration you will find at the market. It is awful best to be unprepared.

2. I will be saying in a high pitched voice, “He. He. He. He. He.” It is true. I do not know where it comes from. But I actually say this phrase. Over and over again. Like a villain from A My Little Pony movie who just wants all of the food. All of it. In her freezer.

3. My eyes will be wild and crazy, because I will just have discovered something amazing. I don’t get out much and when I do, the world always invents something new and exciting.

Redbox machines?!

Candy corn gummies?!

Frozen pretzel bites?!

And just last week, Baskin Robbins in the freezer?!


That is what I want to discuss today. Did you know that Baskin Robbins Ice Cream is now available in the freezer section at the grocery store?

Well, it is.

So, of course, I had to buy all of it. What if it gets discontinued? What if there is a power outage and I have to eat all of the ice cream? What if “True Blood” has a worse series finale than “Mad About You”?


Okay, I did not buy all of the ice cream, but I bought a lot of it. Especially of my childhood favorite and my family’s favorite flavor, Gold Medal Ribbon (some information: My ice cream was on sale for around $3 a container. Regular price is more. I have tasted three flavors and all three flavors tasted the same as the ice cream in the brick and mortar Baskin Robbins I have visited). Gold Medal Ribbon is vanilla and chocolate ice cream joined together with a creamy caramel swirl. Just writing that sentence makes me want to run (let’s not get crazy here) get up and check on my frozen hoard.

He. He. He. He. He.

Do you have a favorite Baskin Robbins flavor? Did you know that the treat is now available at the grocery store? Do you ever walk into the grocery store for one item and walk out of the store with twenty?

It’s The Little Things: a childhood treat within easier reach.