Quick meals with a little premade help

I was in a weird mood yesterday as the work day was coming to an end and of course to make myself feel “better” I thought about finding a bakery and enjoying a cupcake or perhaps some caramel filled chocolates (yes, my cravings get specific!). I knew, however, that those treats would not actually fulfill me as the problem was with something else (I think I was just tired and overwhelmed with my to-do list) so I opted to come home and relax while making dinner. Something simple. Something healthy. Something that would make my body feel like I’m taking care of it.

I actually had plans to make this curried chickpeas and broccoli dish but when I saw this Seeds of Change tikka masala sauce in my pantry as I reached for the chickpeas, I decided to make dinner even simpler. What could be easier than 3 ingredients with a little premade help?

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I browned the chickpeas a bit, then threw broccoli pieces and the sauce into the pan to simmer.

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Red quinoa was cooking on the burner next to it and everything was ready in 10 minutes.

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[Sorry for the picture, the steam coming off the curry was making everything blurry!]

I loved that someone else took the time to let the flavors develop and all I had to do was dump the sauce over some protein and veggies and 10 minutes later a real meal was ready! Smile Unfortunately this particular sauce had so many onion chunks I was completely appalled – I dug them out like a little kid between bites, which did not make for a pleasurable dinner experience and actually ruined my mood. The search for the perfect tikka masala sauce continues!

Next time I’m in no mood to cook, I would love to turn to some premade “shortcuts” for a semi-homemade dinner. Do you have any favorites? While I always prefer homemade, convenience sometimes wins. I often turn to bottled salad dressings, packaged granola bars, etc.

Oh, and if there is jarred sauce you know of or you have a tikka masala recipe that tastes like the real thing at restaurants, I’d love to hear about it! It’s my favorite!!

For more from me, check out my post on kotleti over at Russian Bites. 😀

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20 comments to Quick meals with a little premade help

  • You can make the Seeds of Change sauce taste like restaurant-quality by adding cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, garlic powder, a hint of chili powder, salt, and pepper. I can’t give you an exact amount of what I add, as I usually judge by taste as I go. it can be done, though :)

  • I have a tomatoe sauce that I buy at trader joes and love. Sometimes when I am too busy I’ll make pasta, throw in some leftover veggies (or any quick veggie) and beans with that sauce. You can’t always be perfect and make things from scratch:-)

  • Jarred pasta sauce and salsa are my go-to shortcut items… they go on lots of things. Also, there’s this jarred eggplant (I think it’s Russian) that is soooo good with eggs or with grains.

  • I definitely enjoy weekday meals like this to help make a nutritious but quick dinner!

  • Trader Joes has some of the best pre-made sauces to try.

  • i love trader joes pre-seasoned chick peas. there are so many varieties, all tasty and inexpensive. for another indian chick pea meal, try chana masala.

  • My favorite partially pre-made dinner is whole wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods or TJ’s with jarred marinara sauce, partk-skim mozzarella, and all sorts of toppings. Quick, easy, delicious, and it can be healthy with the right additions.

  • Nami Zylbersztajn

    Adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar, will make any tomato sauce taste like it has been roasting all day.

  • ooh, never tried those sauces before, but it’s a good idea in theory, if only they wouldn’t use so many onions 😉

  • Jarred pasta sauce and canned soup! I love taking a very basic can of soup (like chicken noodle or something) and adding all sorts of stuff in.

  • ali

    Sher Khan have a fab range of Indian sauces. You can find them at Cost Plus :)

  • I love browsing Trader Joe’s for sauces because they usually have something new. They have a green curry that I like to make with veggies and chicken.

  • Usually my go-tos are leftovers that I’ve frozen or things I know can come together really quickly. Sorry, I know that’s not much of a tip at all.

  • Nat

    Take Trader Joe’s frozen Tikka Chicken masala, microwave it, and mix it with some fresh veggies. The sauce doesn’t have chunks of onions, and the meal is done in 5 min. My boyfriend and I think that the chicken tikka, paneer and channa masala match the quality and taste of “real” Indian restaurants – if not better.

    • Elina

      I love love love that frozen meal (it really does taste restaurant-quality). Actually they have one with paneer which I like even better. I never thought of adding my own veggies to it to bulk it up. Brilliant! :)

  • This is the kind of meal I love to make! I have Seeds of Change Simmer Sauce – you might like that better, I don’t remember onion chunks in it.

    • Elina

      What’s the simmer sauce like? I feel like I’ve been scarred a bit but that tikka masala sauce… damn onions :)

  • I love tikka masala sauce – have you ever had the trader joes? I’m not sure, but I don’t think it has onions – at least I never noticed them.

    I love stir-fry’s for quick meals, and pasta with lots of veggies….and the occasional amy’s canned soup.

    • Elina

      I tried TJ’s tikka masala sauce and didn’t like it for some reason. I don’t remember if there were onion chunks but maybe the flavor just wasn’t as good as the stuff we love at restaurants. Stir-frys are definitely my go-to fast meal that actually involves some cooking (as opposed to a sandwich :) )

  • […] enjoy fine meals out that someone else cooks for me. I’ve even blogged on many occasions (like here, here and here) about quick meals when life gets hectic and in every post, the most frequent […]

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