Trader Joe’s Finds

My love for Trader Joe’s began when I received probably the best house-warming present  ever. When we moved into our new home, my bff Vanessa gave me a reusable Trader Joe’s bag with all her favorite Trader Joe’s items. I was in love! Thankfully, we have a Trader Joe’s about 60 miles away.  Not THAT convenient (we have lived in states where there were no Trader Joe’s), but we can make a trip at least once a month and just load up on our favorite things.  I will update this page every time I have an item to rave about! So check back periodically. xoxoWe have had this a few times, as it makes for a quick and tasty meal. Tonight I served it with pico de gallo and a corn fritter (thanks to my awesome cook of a friend you gave me the recipe!). You can also chop it up and make it into tacos, burritos, or a gaucho style sandwich. Once thing to note is that it does have quite a kick to it. It is spicy.

These are 3 Trader Joe’s product that I always have in my pantry. My dear mother-in-law makes the best spaghetti sauce and she even gave me the recipe, but the days (ok mom stop reading) that I just don’t have it in me to make the sauce from scratch I turn to these alternatives.

They have a great selection of jarred sauces. I think the Tomato Basil marinara is great for your basic spaghetti.  I add some onion, garlic and fresh basil if I have some. If I want it to have an extra kick I add a little crushed red pepper.

The Tuscano Marinara Sauce is a great base sauce for pizza anything that will go in the oven such as Baked Ziti or Chicken Parm. I frequently use it to make a quick meat sauce. Again, if I have the time I make my own sauce.  However, if I have a time constraint, or I am honestly not feeling it, I turn to these tasty alternatives.

I now only use Trader Joe’s olive oil for my every day cooking. The one pictured above is the one I usually buy, but I have bought others. They have a great extra virgin one I use for salad dressing. I don’t remember the exact price but they are SOOOO much more affordable than the average kind you get at the grocery and also better quality.

These are pretty awesome frozen fries. SOO much better taste and texture wise than the brands you get a the regular grocery store. They also have 5 grams of fat per serving which I believe is significantly lower than other frozen fries brands. I personally love putting a little bit of OLD Bay on them.

I make this on the night I don’t feel like cooking. My boys really enjoy the meal. The fat content is on the lower end of what you would expect this kind of meal would have. It really taste better than what I get at some of the chain Asian restaurants. This meal is ready in 30 min and with minimal effort.

When I saw this rice in the freezer section it intrigued me. I’ll be honest it sat in my freezer for about 2 weeks before we tried it. It was REALLY good. I can’t really describe the flavor. It didn’t really taste like chimicurri to me, but it did have a unique flavor. We had it with this tri-tip roast from them and it was FANTASTIC!

We put on the grill and in 30 minutes. I made a tomato salad too. The meat was nice and tender. The flavor of the marinade was very nice. It’s garlic and lemons, but  it was very understated. I liked this marinade better than the Carne Asada. It wasn’t as spicy.

The closest Trader Joe’s to me is about 1 hr away. I am hesitant to buy ice cream, but I gave it a try this time and the stuff survived better than I thought in the cooler. I haven’t tried the fruit bars, but they have been a hit with the boys. The Gone Bananas chocolate covered banana slices are excellent. A small little treat to cure a craving. I was worried I would eat the whole box in a few sittings but they are still there. I maybe eat one or two slices at one. The Hold the Cone are great b/c they are small perfect for little hands. Nice summer treat.

This chocolate is just damn good. Go get it your taste buds will thank you.

This is a delicious and not so bad for you snack.  It would go perfect in kids lunches in a 100 calorie snack bag. They actually taste like apple pie. For 38 sticks the calorie content is 140, total fat 7g and sugars is 4g. Now I possibly did eat 38 sticks last night, but on other occasion I had a handful and was satisfied.

Tried these the other night and they were really good. My 4-year-old really liked it too. We made it with their Arrabbiata sauce which gave it a little kick. If you eat the serving size I thought the calorie and fat content was decent. Making a big salad helps with sticking to the serving size.

This is our go to frozen pizza. It is soooo much better than calling the delivery brand pizza’s. Unless we are getting our pizza from the local NY style pizzeria I turn to this. If you make a nice big salad you can stick to the serving size. This has been a go to lunch item for the boys during the summer months. They have other varieties of frozen pizza, but this one has been our favorite. It is simple deliciousness.

Another great pizza! My husband and I enjoyed this one. We didn’t give it to the kids. It reminded us of the pizza we would get in Europe.

Another delicious spaghetti sauce. It’s a bit more tangy than the traditional marinara. It also has peppers and onion in it. One time I put ground beef in it. It tasted like something I slaved over all day.

I really enjoyed this soup. It is very filling. It tasted just like a lentil soup I had at Lebanese Taverna. This was great for lunch.

These fries are a little bit more sophisticated. I would serve them with steak or roasted chicken. They are very delicious. My only advice is to serve immediately, if not you will have garlic hash, instead of fries.

This dip is very delish and low in fat and calories. Goes great with any veggie or pita chips. It makes for a great snack.

Since I have discovered these black beans I have abandoned the Goya black beans (gasp!). These black beans are already seasoned and taste right out your abuela’s kitchen. All I do is heat and serve! I save so much time!

I was surprised how good these were. Even my 4-year-old loved them. I served them with the Mandarin Orange Chicken. It was seriously delish!

I had this for lunch one day. It was good and filling. My only advice it to add a little less water. I thought the broth was on the bland side.

This was one of the first Trader Joe’s products I tried. Make sure to offer these at Thanksgiving and everyone will swear you made it from scratch. I like to make mine into muffins.

This was similar to the above Wonton Soup. I added less water and the broth was more flavorful. It was a good lunch for a busy day.

If you are watching what you eat and have the urge for pizza this is a good meal to take the craving away. It isn’t very cheesy and has ALOT of veggies. SO if you don’t like veggies than don’t buy this. I had it for lunch, but a side salad would make for a great addition.

If you are looking for homemade risotto than don’t buy this. If you are looking for a quick side with good flavor than buy this. I paired this with roasted pork loin and green beans.

This was ok. I am putting it on here because it makes for a quick decent side dish. I wouldn’t eat this as a meal. With a lot of the frozen meals, you have to remember it is a frozen meal.

You have to like asparagus to enjoy this risotto. Like I said in the previous risotto review. It’s frozen don’t be expecting restaurant quality. This was a lot creamier than the butternut squash one and I really enjoyed the taste. I paired it with breaded chicken last night. It worked.

I have been using the Progresso bread crumbs for years. I picked these up to give them a try. Oh my! They are absolutely delicious! I will never go back to the one I used before. It tastes homemade. Made the breaded chicken I made last night taste so much better! This is a MUST buy!

These chips are a good twist on the tortilla chip. They are hearty and have a spicy kick to them. These are good alone or with your favorite salsa.

Run run run to you local Trader Joe’s and pick this up before they are either sold out or not available any more (I believe it is a seasonal item). I made pancakes with this last weekend. They were so good. They tasted home-made! What I like about the mix is that is isn’t that pumpkiny. They pumpkin taste is not overwhelming.

If you like feta than you will like this dip. It isn’t as smooth as the cilantro chive yogurt dip. The feta taste is strong. I had it will chips, but I think it would be better with veggies.

I hadn’t ever tried lavash chips before. I would describe them as a lighter pita chip. They are airy. I did enjoy these. They also have a hint of olive oil in them. It was nice.  I enjoyed them with both yogurt dip and also hummus.

I thought this was a good alternative to fresh veggies during the winter months. For frozen veggies I was surprised how good the texture and taste was. The added sauce is delish!

This is a fast alternative for a “I haven’t gotten fresh produce” side. I thought it was better tasting then the other boxed mashed potatoes on the market.

This is my go to stuffing. I have used it at Thanksgiving the last couple years. I add some sautéed celery and onions to it. You can also add sausage to it as well. I might to that the next time I make it.

 I made the loaf, but think it would be better as muffins. My kids didn’t like it because of the peppermint, but I thought the peppermint is what made it tasty.

I made muffins with this mix. It was delicious and so easy!

Run, run, run and buy these for your next appetizer. They are so delicious! They go very well with creamy cheeses. The raisin is a nice surprise.

I ate an entire bag of these in a day! Enough said.

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I had this at my BFF house over the holidays. It is is delcious. Even though it is a dressing we used it as a veggie dip. It has a yummy tangy tahini taste. If you enjoy hummus than you would like this.

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My hubby and I shared this for dinner. It pairs well with a nice big salad. It nice to have in the freezer for those days that you need something quick. This would also make a yummy appetizer.

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16 thoughts on “Trader Joe’s Finds

  1. mar – good to know on the santa maria tri tip roast. i too thought the carne asade was too spicy. i also might have to try those french fries…..i never buy them even from giant – but you have wowed me.
    i went to tj’s last weekend and bought the dark chocolate, caramel with black sea salt bar, but then we didn’t go to see spider man so i haven’t broken into it yet…..maybe this weekend.
    i also tried their strawberry licorice and YUM!!!! a nice change from twizzlers.
    i am smiling just thinking about nick & will eating the tiny ice cream cones!
    we really like the strawberry fruit floes. best frozen fruit bar i have had sold commercially (those ones in nashville were pretty darn good too).

  2. So based on YOUR entire post here, I made a Trader Joe’s shopping list and made my menu for the week! The mandarin orange chicken and veggie fried rice was delish and a huge hit. AND on a work night, so easy to put together! I also did the tri-tip roast but I made it with the frozen corn polenta with spinach and carrots – so good! Also a huge hit! I still have the chimmichuri rice to fix and picked up a bag of the balsamic roasted veggies for another night. Thank you for sharing these and keep it up! Your making dinner easier and more exciting in my house 🙂 ZLAM!

  3. I bought the santa Maria – we plan to make it on Sunday. I might have to pick up those Cuban black beans!! And the lentil soup looks delicious. I have had their other lentil sop in the smaller cans. Very good. Matt liked the 3 cheese pizza – but he still doesn’t like marguerite 🙂

  4. I have been looking for a post like this out there. There is a TJ’s a few miles away and everyone raves about it, but when I go I am sort of hapless. We have tried the orange chicken you recommended (apparently a top seller), but the others on your list are new to me. Will definitely give them a try. Please do update when you have another suggestion. I would love to hear your pasta recipe sometime–you know, future posts and all that! I love your blog.

    • Thanks so much! I added a bunch of new things. I am going there tomorrow to find new ready meals for this month. With my oldest football schedule and violin we are going to not be home until after 7 on 3 days a week for the entire month. I need to also pull out the crock pot and start making dinners in that.

  5. New TJ’s find that you might like…the Multigrain Veggie Lasagna in the frozen food section. It was quick to warm up and my biggest girl is ready for helping number 3!!

  6. I had the breadcrumbs in my cart last weekend and then took them out. Now, after my chicken with panko breadcrumbs didn’t turn out very tastey, I will actually buy the breadcrumbs next TJ trip. I also appreciate the review of the yogurt feta dip, it was another thing that I contimplated but did not buy. Something TJ to try that is simply delicious and easy…2 boxes of organic tomato & roasted red pepper soup (I used the low sodium version), add 1/2 smoked fresh turkey kielbasa (cut into chuncks-used more than 1/2 if you prefer), and a bag of frozen chimichurri rice; dump it all together and heat it up. It’s a little high in sodium, but delicious on a cool fall night.

  7. I will have to try the lavash chips and the black bean and quinoa tortilla chips! I bought the pumpkin pancake mix based on your review :-). I just made the pumpkin bread tonight to take wine tasting to or row with the schmol’s

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