As I mentioned, my husband and are adjusting to the work/life with two little ones. We no longer have the luxury of three-course meals or fancy late night dinners. However, we haven’t yet succumbed to fast food take-out. Instead we’re relying a lot on Trader Joe’s pre-packaged or frozen foods to keep our taste buds happy while minimizing cooking times.
For those who don’t know, Trader Joe’s is a chain of specialty grocery stores with most of its locations in California as well as a few other states. Not everyone lives near a Trader Joe’s but if you do, it’s easy to understand why it has a devoted following.
Note: We do try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables but oftentimes we don’t have time to go to the market and it’s quickest to defrost something from our now well-stocked freezer.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Frozen Italian Pizzas: They have several imported from Italy, including vegetable, four cheeses, and Margarita (not sure if they still make the pear/gorgonzola). The thin crust passes my Italian husband’s very high criteria, which says a lot!
- French “Pizzas”: I forget the official name but it’s a French version of pizza with delicious ingredients like ham, gruyere and onions.
- Gyozas or frozen dumplings: While not as good as fresh dumplings at Chinese or other Asian restaurants, these are pretty good and quick. My favorite is the Thai-style shrimp but they also have pork and chicken. One important thing to note is that these turn out better if you cook them in a pan rather than a microwave.
- Wrap Sandwiches: Trader Joe’s has a diverse selection of wraps including chicken with pesto, thai chicken, Reuben, tuna, turkey with bacon, tri-tip, etc.. My husband favors the Reuben while my preferences seem to change weekly. These are very handy for lunch or even dinner.
- Marinated Meats: Trader Joe’s also has a good selection of pre-marinated meats from Korean BBQ flavor to curry chicken to burgundy lamb (a favorite!). These have been life-saving for us on those nights when we’re too exhausted to cook but still want a proper meal.
We also stock up on frozen fish, frozen shrimp, artichokes, cheeses, pre-packaged salads and a host of other Trader Joe’s foods because their quality is consistently high. Prices are not on the low-end but it’s not sky-high like Whole Foods either.
Do you love Trader Joe’s? If so, what are your favorite items?