Living on Trader Joe’s Foods

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:

  1. 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!
  2. French “Pizzas”: I forget the official name but it’s a French version of pizza with delicious ingredients like ham,  gruyere and onions. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

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One response to “Living on Trader Joe’s Foods

  1. We’ve done this in the past. They used to have this amazing mushroom medley that we’d stirfry up. They’ve also got some veggie medleys that make great instant stirfries, with qunioa or cous cous or rice. I did a lot of pasta/rice with veggies and a TJ’s sauce back when we had access.

    I miss their frozen bananas and nuts and cheeses and dried fruits and trail mix most.

    It looks like they’re expanding again though so maybe one day there will be one in the city nearest us.

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