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    Jun 29, 2019

    24 Packaged Meals For When You Just Can't

    So best-laid cooking plans don't turn into a $30 takeout order that takes you to Regretsville.

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    1. Nissin Chow Mein Premium Teriyaki Beef will be an easy (and super affordable!) microwave meal that tastes almost like your beloved go-to takeout order.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "10 bucks for 12 of these? Are you kidding? Nissin completely outdoes themselves with this product, The noodle is of very high quality (noodles normally get mushy after being microwaved for too long, but not these. They taste the same, and even better if cooked properly with the sauce). I'd suggest microwaving for 4 minutes, add the sauce and stir, then microwaving for another 2 minutes. The noodles should taste like a stir fried dish from any quality restaurant." —Amazon Customer

    Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $9.99.

    2. NongShim Shin Ramyun Noodle Soup – it'll help satisfy your cravings for that legendary noodle shop where they know your name like on Cheers. It could be the next best thing ;).

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Promising review: "These are GREAT ramen noodles, all things considered. I’m a ramen foodie and nothing beats the authenticity of traditional Ramen. However if you’re on a budget this is definitely the way to go. The noodles taste great, the spices are amazing. I love spicy food and this product definitely doesn’t disappoint! Just beware if you don’t like spicy use less of the seasoning packet. One pack is very filling and that’s coming from me, a decent-sized guy. I like to add green onions, cilantro, a soft boiled egg, and sautéed pork loin. Takes 20 minutes max to prep with these additions (see pic). You won’t be disappointed with this product." —A.P. Marshall

    Get a 20-pack from Amazon for $17.34.

    3. Velveeta Original Shells & Cheese Microwave Cups I can personally vouch for, as I've purchased these in my local drugstore for a quick dinner one too many times.

    Amazon

    And the cheese sauce mixes in so easily.

    Get an eight-pack from Amazon for $6.48.

    4. Or Annie's Real Aged Cheddar Microwavable Macaroni & Cheese in case you try to keep your family eating organic.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "BEST MAC AND CHEESE EVER. I've tried every single brand of mac and cheese cups available to me. Horizon brand was too chalky and clumpy, Kraft tasted too artificial, Velveeta was too goopy. This mac and cheese blows all other mac and cheese out of the water. And it's organic on top of that. The only con I could think of is that it is pricier than other brands, but I'm telling you, it's worth the money." —Es K.

    Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $20.99 (available in several varieties and pack sizes).

    5. Daily Harvest will quickly become an organic freezer staple for anyone who lives off of smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, and other scrumptious things. I've tried it and LOVE it.

    instagram.com

    I decided to give it a go because I'm sure as hell not going to go out and buy pine pollen and black sesame to add to my smoothies. I barely buy lemons as it is! The cups ship frozen and last for months in your freezer in case ya' need a smoothie break (but why?). You simply blend it (if it's a smoothie) or cook it up (in case it's something like a bowl), then can dump it back in the cup and go. You can also add extras, with some inspo from their Insta. I've walked to the train many a time sipping on a smoothie out of one of these cups. Plus all the ingredients are listed right there on the cup in case a stranger has questions on what you're consuming. All the flavors I've tried are delicious but my personal smoothie faves include Dragon Fruit + Lychee, Cold Brew + Cacao, Mint + Cacao (which tastes like ice cream!), and Chocolate + Blueberry.

    Sign up for a weekly or monthly plan on Daily Harvest (pricing ranges from $6.99–$7.75 per cup depending on your plan).

    6. Quaker stepped-up oatmeal mixes that'll just require adding water and microwaving. I've had them before and they have no business being that tasty.

    Amazon

    I've bought these before and ate them as many dinners. They're that satisfying. The flavors are apple walnut, summer berry, and my personal fave of blueberry hazelnut.

    Get a 12-pack of three flavors from Amazon for $19.99.

    Sucker for a classic? Snag an 8 lbs. box of old fashioned oatmeal for $10.48.

    7. ZATARAIN'S Reduced Sodium Red Beans and Rice can take care of the bulk of your family dinner in less than three minutes, without messing with everyone's dietary restrictions.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "We love this flavor and we basically mix it with shrimp and lots of fresh vegetables, and it's a great meal. Again another one of those things I hate buying every week at the grocery store. Great price and delivered right to my door step." —Logan

    Get six boxes from Amazon for $17.89.

    8. Idahoan Microwavable Instant Mashed Potatoes may make you say "But Elizabeth, mashed potatoes aren't a meal!" And to which I reply, "They can be if you really want them to be!!!" Not speaking from experience or anything....

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I am a college student that loves mashed potatoes. These are yummy and easy to heat and eat. I am really happy when I know my mom is sending me a box of these!!!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $10.

    9. Rice a Roni Cups in Chicken for a microwave meal that'll one-up Sandra from accounting's baked salmon she decided to heat up in the break-room microwave.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is delicious. Cook it, stir it, let sit one minute, add dollop of butter, stir it in, and start blowing on it, then can't wait so blow on it by spoonful, devour that spoonful and repeat until bowl is too quickly empty! HaHa, yes, I like this chicken flavored Rice a Roni that much, honestly!" —Lizzer825

    Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $11.28 (available in four flavor combos).

    10. Simple Sensations Gluten-Free Italian Style Pepper Steak as the easiest way to win the desk lunch game. Period. (Well... unless you're plant-based, but there are plenty of other options for you in this story!)

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I’ve not had very favorable results with these types of pouched meals, so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I used the microwave method to prepare it, so within three minutes it was ready to eat. It was truly delicious. Loved the red sauce and variety of peppers. I greatly prefer this meal over fast food stops as I dash about town keeping up with baseball games spring, summer and fall. The meal can also be prepared directly in the pouch by adding boil water." —Java Dude

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $35.94 (also available in chicken fajita bowl and spicy southwest style skillet).

    11. Cucina & Amore Quinoa Meal in Mango and Jalapeno for a speedy take on a satisfying lunch.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Love the convenience, but especially love that it is a gluten-free meal to take on the go that tastes great!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $22.89 (also available in spicy jalapeno and roasted peppers and artichoke and roasted peppers).

    12. Chef Soraya Plant Based Vegan Bowls you can reach for in your cabinet when you're on the verge of hangry but trying to eat something that'll actually stick with you and has ingredients you recognize.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "As I made the jump over to vegetarian about two years ago I've been constantly searching for a product that is plant-based, I can eat on the go, and actually tastes good. Something I thought would be simple to find but had been much harder than anticipated. I had a friend recommend these bowls and they're a game changer. Took me a second to find the fill line to pour hot water in (about 3/4 full) but after that, I was rocking and rolling. These will be a staple item in my backpack going to work or my backpack heading out into the wild." —Michael

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $22.64 (available in a variety of flavor combos).

    13. Viet Way Pho Bo Rice Noodle Soup Bowl that'll hold you over 'til you're near your fave pho place.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This box of pho will not make you forget the best pho served in restaurants with fresh beef and accompaniments (lime, sprouts, jalapenos). However, the product here is simple to make (four minutes) and the texture of the rice noodles and taste of the broth is very good. I am not close to a pho restaurant and this product helps me when I have a craving for pho and no source to fill that craving." —David F. Chavkin

    Get an eight-pack from Amazon for $20.

    14. NongShim Cup Noodle Soup in Kimchi for when that hankering for kimchi and slurpy noodles hits and you swore to yourself that you'd eat at home this week.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "These noodles are richly flavored, hot, and savory. The chewy chunks of mushroom complement the toothsome noodles deliciously. I agree with another reviewer, these are best prepared by the boiling water method rather than the microwave. The price is high compared to other noodles, but I'll be reordering these early and often!" —Mary D

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $10.67 (available in three flavors).

    15. Campbell's Chunky Pub-Style Chicken Pot Pie Soup comes in a microwavable bowl, meaning it'd be the perfect thing to keep stashed in your filing cabinet at work for super busy days.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Yummy, easy to cook, great for a quick meal, I added Goldfish crackers to mine for some extra texture and fun." —KLynch

    Get it from Amazon (exclusive to Prime members) for $1.99.

    16. Barilla Italian-Style Meat Sauce Gemelli for when you want something with some meaty flavor and forgot to defrost stuff.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Most shelf-stable foods like this just taste wrong or are so salty they are inedible. I've tried the Bacon version of the Barrilla entrees and really liked it, so this meat sauce version seemed like a good option. These are the twisty noodles that are solid and they give it a solid mouth feel with some chew. The sauce definitely smells like tomatoes and there is actual meat! There's no aftertaste or sweet undertone either.

    This takes one minute in the microwave and it's exactly right...not too hot, no frozen parts in the middle, and no rubbery pasta. The sauce is in a removable cup rather than pre mixed in the noodles. I like this idea a lot, you can add it to suit your own taste. I'll buy this again." —Dogs & Horses

    Get it from Amazon for $2.19.

    17. HMR Tasty Trio Entree Variety Pack can help you build up meals when you have the energy and/or bandwidth to actually fix a side. Whomst among us?!

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I stay up late working all the time. I needed to decrease my daily caloric intake. These taste great, and achieved that goal. It's nice to refresh for a few minutes eating a quick meal, then go back to work not feeling the way you do after a hamburger or pizza. lol" —Jason Tamplin

    Get a six-pack (two of each) from Amazon for $22.20.

    18. Hormel Compleats Salisbury Steak for something filling without all the work and effort.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "I am a truck driver on a diet. Truck stop food cannot meet my calorie and sodium requirements. I tried many 'heat and eat' options, and the Hormel Salisbury Steak and Barilla Spice Tomato Penne Pasta were the only ones I really enjoyed. Of the two, the Hormel Salisbury Steak is my favorite, and it is also fewer calories than the Barilla pasta. This is my primary meal choice for the next five weeks on the road. With a microwave and a pepper grinder, this is a VERY satisfying meal choice with reasonable calories, and without outrageous sodium. I am very pleased with this." —sedroray

    Get it from Amazon for $1.80 (exclusive for Prime members; also available in meatloaf and gravy, chicken breast with rib meat, beef rib tips, and beef pot roast).

    19. Knorr Pasta Side Dish in Alfredo Broccoli may be marketed as a side, but if you really put your heart into it you can make it a whole meal. (Uh, I definitely have.)

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is great to have when you want some Alfredo noodles but don't want to decimate your efforts to eat healthy. I don't know how they do it, but this sauce is as creamy and satisfying as 'real' Alfredo without anywhere near the caloric or fat content. If you throw in a handful of fresh, chopped broccoli, diced or shredded carrots, and some frozen peas, then top it with some strips of grilled chicken breast or shrimp, you can have a delicious main course 'Pasta Primavera' in a short period of time that won't make you feel guilty afterward." —Penny Pincher

    Get it from Amazon for $1.29 (exclusive to Prime members).

    20. Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Portobello Mushroom and Madeira Bisque to help your quick meal feel a lil' fancy, even if you heated it up in a microwave!

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Oh. My. GAWD! This stuff is absolutely DELICIOUS. Been trying to change up my lunch menu lately — been packing lunches so long, I thought there was nothing out there. Now, THIS! Campbell's is off the chain with this, and it is WONDERFUL! Quick, handy, and minimal prep effort. With or without any other sides, this is a hot, hearty, and, again, DELICIOUS meal. Thank you!!" —Tex Out West

    Get it from Amazon for $2.98 (exclusive to Prime members; also available in andouille sausage jambalaya soup, Tuscan-style chicken and white bean soup, kickin' crab and corn chowder, bold beef chili with pinto beans and Jalapeños, and Santa Fe-style chicken enchilada soup).

    21. Velveeta Skillets Cheesy Philly Cheesesteak Dinner Kit just needs a few fixins to achieve a winning family feast.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Much better than Hamburger Helper. Try them all! The chicken bacon ranch is amazing. Some need milk, some just need water and even then they are richer and creamier and tastier than the other brands." —Tara

    Get it from Amazon for $2.66 (exclusive to Prime members; also available in cheesy chicken and broccoli, mac and cheese, cheesy bacon ranch, ultimate cheeseburger, and cheesy beef Stroganoff).

    22. Pasta Roni Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs for those nights when you don't have the energy to cook-cook but want something besides a PB&J.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "Angel hair has always been my favorite pasta. It is filling without weighing you down like some pastas, and it cooks up in no time. And Pasta Roni angel hair adds herbs which are very tasty. So I like keeping a box of this on hand for a good, satisfying meal or side that can be prepared in just a few minutes." —ohoy

    Get it from Amazon for $0.98 (exclusive for Prime members).

    23. NongShim Soon Cup Noodle Soup in Veggie as a vegan-friendly last-minute meal you can zhuzh up with some fresh veggies that are about to go bad in your fridge(!!!).

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "I tried these for the first time a few weeks ago. I have been anxiously awaiting payday since! I cannot stress how much I love these. It's so amazing to finally have something so common finally vegan-friendly. I love adding in extra veggies and mushrooms and even some pan fried tofu when I have it. I am SOOOOOO in love with this ramen!!!!! It's a bit spicy for me but hey, I will gladly accept a slightly runny nose to enjoy this!!!!" —Desiree

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $10.04.

    24. Annie Chun's Red Curry with Brown Rice & Red Quinoa for a non-GMO and gluten-free option you can keep in your pantry and still feel satisfied about eating when you'd rather eat your own arm that cut up some veggies for a stir fry.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This curry is very good on a serving of chicken breast. Really spices it up. One pack used this way will make three servings. A good change from traditional flavors." —F. Burton

    Get a six-pack from Amazon for $19.95 (available in six flavors).

    Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Looking for more great Amazon finds? Check out some of our favorite cheap things to buy on Amazon, some of the weirdest things on Amazon you might actually want, or read through all the rest of our incredible Amazon product recommendations.

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    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

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