So you've invited all your friends over for a sit-down soirée. You've got the playlist perfectly curated, and have carefully considered your tablescape. Now there's only one problem: Cooking a feast when you're short on time or lacking in expert culinary skills. Not to worry, there's always everyone's favorite neighborhood grocer when it comes to situations like this. With some dinner party ideas from Trader Joe's, you won't have to spend all day in the kitchen to wow your guests — which will give you more time for the really important stuff, like arranging flowers and drinking wine.
You already likely lean on TJ's to provide you with freezer essentials that make for super easy dishes ( How did you live before that Cauliflower Gnocchi?) as well as legitimately great beauty loot and of course the constant introduction of new goods that you never knew you needed so badly. That said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the market has all your culinary needs covered when it comes to your pending dinner party — from crowd-pleasing apps to desserts even your gluten-free friends can enjoy.
Some of TJ's newest releases are a great place to start if you're currently planning your menu, and they range from items that are easy to put together for dishes that barely require effort on your part, to those that are already totally ready to serve — while your guests are none the wiser. Ahead, find a handful of suggestion for some Trader Joe's buys that are to delicious and easy that you'll feel like you hired a caterer.
Lightly Salted Edamame
It's always helpful to offer your guests a little finger food when they arrive, mingle, and enjoy a few welcome drinks, and this pre-cooked, lightly salted edamame is the perfect light snack to start the evening.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Suggestion: A platter of dips and breads to nosh on before sitting down for the main event. This garlicky, spicy, creamy dip is perfect to pair with some crudités. If there are any meat-free guests attending you can grab a container of the Vegan Ranch dip, too.
Red Chili Pepper Brie
Speaking of platters, cheese and crackers are practically a dinner party staple, and TJ's excels in its offerings in both departments. Case in point: Its new red chili pepper-flavored brie. Bake it in phyllo dough or just serve with some flatbread and your work is done.
Pappa Al Pomodoro
For a first course, grab this Tuscan tomato-bread soup — before it's gone for the season. A little freshly grated parmesan and a sprig of basil will make guests feel like they're at a fancy restaurant.
Peanut & Crispy Noodle Salad
TJ's salad kits, like this new Asian inspired one, are perfect for dinner parties, since you won't have to spend time cutting and chopping (when you could be chatting with guests instead).
Miso Vegetables & Brown Rice Sauté
For a vegan-friendly side dish, grab a bag of the new miso veggie and brown rice sauté. Just heat and serve and you're good to go.
Pesto Kale Gnocchi
The latest veg-based pasta, Kale Gnocchi can make a colorful addition to your menu with the addition of cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Bring it all together with Vegan Kale Cashew Basil pesto to add a ton of flavor.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Verde
Slow cooker enthusiasts, this one's for you. Per the TJ's site, just throw chicken thighs, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and a jar of salsa verde into your cooker and let simmer (exact recipe here). Then serve with rice (grab the frozen jasmine or brown rice for the easiest option) and black beans.
Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomato Ravioli
For another vegetarian pasta dish, just add some sautéed vegetables and Creamy Tomato Basil sauce to make this new stuffed ravioli complete.
Mango Melba Shortcake
If you don't mind doing a little bit of baking, this shortcake is a showstopper. Just grab buttermilk biscuits, raspberry preserves, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and frozen mango chunks from TJ's and follow the instructions here.
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
If that's too much work, all you need is vanilla, oil, and non-dairy milk to whip up a batch of these gluten-free cookies. Serve with coffee or tea as dessert.