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.

Anthropologie Holiday Workshop: Corona 2013


I loved this workshop. The girls (Amber and Carly) that ran it were two of the sweetest girls I have ever met. They really liked their job. They liked the customers. They were just awesome!


I wore my Free People thermal oatmeal sweater dress that I found at Nordstrom Rack and my Anthropologie Heirloom necklace with the bee embelishments. I also snuck in some colorful tights, because I was cold and I thought no one would notice. Unfortunately, I tried some clothes on for reviews (coming Sunday) and they are the most prevalent thing in the pictures. Again, what can you do?


This workshop was more interactive than the San Diego Workshop I had gone to early that week. At this one, we all sat at a communal table. We introduced ourselves and told a fun fact about ourselves. Mine was I am double jointed. My favorite share fact was from a lovely woman whose mother and grandmother were doctors. They grew up with baby monkeys in their home that were from the research hospital her family worked at. It sounded like a fun childhood.


We ended up making a rubber band art installation made to look like string art. How cool is that?


We just took a circle of cardboard that they had precut (they had glued two pieces together to make it sturdy and thick) and wound our rubber band around it.


We started in the center and then each rubber band placed after that went crossed over the next to the right. It ended up looking like this.


Some of the girl’s crafts were perfect. With the center being, well, in the center. Mine, not so much. It took a curve at a weird angle. Kind of like their creator. ; ). Both of mine did this. I still think they look okay. Imperfect, like me.


After we were done they were going to spray paint them gold. Starting at the edges and going towards the middle. They were going to leave the middle bare. They wanted the rubber band center to shine through.


I cannot wait to make some of these with my kids. I think it is a super fun easy holiday display idea.


I am so happy I got to go this workshop. It was incredibly fun. The vibe was relaxed and welcoming. I am pictured here with Amber and Carly. They were unbelievably sweet. Just lovely and kind. The ladies attending the workshop were also so nice. I met Karen who has a blog, also. It is called Elderberry Street. She also did a blog post about the event there. Her pictures turned out fantastic!

Have you done one of these workshops? Are you looking forward to doing some crafts this holiday season?

Anthropologie’s Holiday Display Workshop: San Diego 2013


That is right! I did a workshop. Well, actually I did two! Monday’s post will be the workshop from Corona’s Anthropologie. I chose the ones based on their scheduling during the one week I had free.

I really wanted to make friends here, but I ended up leaving early. My husband had been so sweet to drive me on his day off. He was going to wait for me for the entire two hours. But when I finished super early with my garland, I opted to relieve him from his boredom and take him to lunch. ‘Cause I love him the best.


But while I was there, I met some sweet girls. It was also interesting to hear about the different projects the visual team had put together. Look at these mushroom spirals! Doesn’t it need a gnome? They made those by sewing burlap and then squirting foam from a can that hardens upon use. I also learned that they donate their displays. Who knew?


I wore my Anthropologie Nora Peplum Top with mustard skinny jeans from Old Navy and my beaded horse head necklace from Anthropologie. And yes, I realize my necklace is lying awkwardly. Ah, well, what can you do?


They taught us a fabulous new craft using paper clips and magazine clippings. Who doesn’t have those? Seriously, this was so much fun! These ladies are very creative. I highly recommend going to a workshop if you have the time. I will be changing up this project in a future post to make it more “me.” Post to come. I was thrilled to participate in such a fun project and learn a new technique.


When we arrived there were two tables set up. At each place setting, there was a glue gun. There were some yummy goodies. But I opted to not indulge. They did look good, though.


They had spray painted the paper clips gold before we got there. It gave the paper clip an antique like quality.


We made three links of paper clips of 14, 16, and 18 paper clips each. Once we had made our links, we moved on to the magazine portion.


We cut our magazine page into strips. And then tightly wrapped the magazine strip around a paperclip, securing it with hot glue at the end. I wound mine 2-3 times each.


I snuck a hottie into my garland. So if you see the garland all green with this guy’s head on it, know it is my gift to you. Enjoy!


When all of your links are covered, you attach a paper clip to all of them at each end so they are all joined together from smallest link to largest link. Then you wrap those two end paper clips in magazine strips. The other gals added red paint to theirs. But I really liked the green of my garland. So, I called ‘er done.


They were going to hang the garlands from a large tree displayed in the center of the store. I will be back to see if I can spot my contribution to the project.


Have you been to one of these workshops? Wasn’t it so much fun?

* I also went to another workshop that week. I had planned on running these posts side by side. But I really wanted to get my outfit post about Anthropologie’s Modena Dress up tomorrow. Therefore, the other holiday workshop post will go up on Monday.

I shared this on Savvy Southern Style

And My Romantic Home